Last Ditch Therapy


Written by Marianna Ladas and Allison Volk, Last Ditch Therapy is a short film about a husband and wife who run into marriage troubles. After a recommendation, the couple reluctantly signs up to a therapy programme, which is orchestrated by a mysterious doctor/magician. Oh and Elvis turns up. Confused?

The film begins with the couple driving through an idyllic neighbourhood, and almost immediately there is a sense of tension between the husband and wife, which is apparent just from their body language. Allison Volk (the wife) and Matt Wright (the husband) play the duo well but Wright’s performance becomes a little tiring by the end: his attempts at comic lines and mannerisms feel out of place in this movie. Nevertheless, the physicality at the start and the end of the film skillfully portray how much the couple grow together throughout the story.

Suddenly, we’re thrown into the presence of the strange (and appropriately chilling) doctor, who resides in an almost Gothic setting. The doctor uses hypnosis to send the couple to sleep, where they apparently experience lucid dreams. This is where things start to get inconsistent. For example, the husband’s vision is one of him provocatively dancing with his wife. Yet, in the wife’s hallucination, she sees two alternative versions of herself, who battle it out for her attention. But her husband is nowhere to be seen. This is somewhat indulgent on Volk’s part. Also, how would these illusions actually help a marriage? How does dancing with a sexier version of your wife, or watching your alter ego playing a harp, strengthen a relationship? Frankly, it wouldn’t help. At all.

Confusion is apparent throughout the film. This isn’t necessarily bad though, even ten minutes in it’s not clear what is happening, leaving the audience with the desire to find the answers. Except they never do. One scene, which makes no sense at all, is the one prior to the couple’s visions. They are led into a room and their fortunes are read by a crazy witch woman. This bears no relation to the plot and seems highly unnecessary. It’s only purpose is to break up the couple physically, but that could have been done by leading one into a different room (saving five minutes of everyone’s time). What is also used to excess is the musical interludes. One of the wife’s alternates plays the harp for a few minutes in a segment that looks more like a music video than a short film.

However, there is redemption in the closing scenes. The doctor’s portrayal of the couple’s relationship as being a theatrical piece is a clever metaphor for how the couple changes thanks to the therapy. That said, the heart-warming touch in the conclusion does not detract from Last Ditch Therapy being disproportionate in the focus between the husband and wife, and this results in a jumbled mess of sporadic sub-stories.


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