Short Film Review: ‘Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses’

Hey, is it Friday already? Man, time flies when you’re unemployed. Did you forget to write a review until the last minute? Oh, disembodied voice. If only it were that simple. No, I didn’t forget. But it gets pretty damn hot in DC, and the closest theater to have Rock of Ages is like a twenty minute walk. So I turned to the only thing one can when all hope is lost: the internet. Which is where we are right now. Yes, thank you.

Long story short—that pun will become evident in a moment—I decided to try something different and review a short film. That was a terrible pun. Would you say that it was unbearable? Why did you—Oh God, where did that come from?!

Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses (2008):

The Plot: Lyle (Nick Kocher) is desperate to escape his girlfriend Hannah’s (Laura Ramadei) annoying laugh. Unable to deal with the pain of a normal breakup, he puts into motion an elaborate scheme to convince her that he is locked in a deadly war with the forces of Eaglia, King of the Eagles, who is turning people into horses. Because eagles eat horses. The anti-love story quickly becomes a genre-savvy action comedy of not literally epic proportions.

Some of you are already familiar with the comedy duo BriTANick (rhymes with Titanic), made up of Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher. Their stuff has been on the internet for a few years, now, and it’s pretty hilarious. Many of you know them from their totally spot-on parody of Oscar-bait movie trailers:

Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses is actually Brian McElhaney’s 2008 NYU thesis film. I’ve seen criticism of the short—on its IMDB page, actually—suggesting that it feels like an extended version of one of their sketches. That sounds fairly accurate, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a bad thing. I mean, have you seen their other videos?

This fifteen minute film has everything that a comedy of any length needs, and more. McElhaney’s direction is confident without being showy, which, frankly, is amazing to find in a movie made by a film student. He’s clearly got a keen understanding of the way action movies are shot; the camerawork is both fluid and dynamic, helped by some damn effective editing.

The script, written by McElhaney and Kocher, is witty, silly, and instantly quotable. Not a scene goes by without a great joke, so if you’re the kind of person that finds their humor appealing, be prepared for a good ab workout. People laugh with their abs, right?

Is Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses a work of art? Maybe. Maybe not. But I know for sure that it’s bizarre, silly, and incredibly well-made. What more could you want? World peace. Ha. Get over yourself, Miss Teen America. I…what?

The work of comedy duo BriTANick might not appeal to all of you. That’s fine. I think they’re hilarious, but we can still be friends if you don’t. That’s not what you told me. For the last time, we’re not friends. You just live in my head. So…more like brothers, then.

Hopefully, even people who find this “just kind of weird” instead of totally hilarious will be able to appreciate the fact that it’s really well made. Those of us who have tried making films before will appreciate it even more.

Brian and Nick’s careers have been rising steadily over the last few years, so this post is more for you guys than them. Recently, they’ve had both Danny Pudi—of Community fame—and Joss Whedon make appearances in their sketches. Shiny.

So without further ado, Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses:

5 thoughts on “Short Film Review: ‘Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses’

  1. Brilliant! I especially love the trailer… well, actually it was all very good. Dare I say it? They kind of remind me of your films — maybe a bit more advanced (I mean they are/were in film school after all), but the sense of humor is similar, I think.

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