Imagine a world where everyone spoke in only bad puns. The horror! In Right Place, Wrong Tim however, violence against good taste and refined comedic sensibilities is quickly transformed into violence of another kind—y’know, the sort with blood and viscera. Set against the backdrop of a cheesy 90’s sitcom, actor turned filmmaker, Eros Vlahos (Nanny McPhee Returns, Game of Thrones), artfully pivots this short mid-film from a nostalgic spoof into one of the most stylish slashers that we’ve featured on the site.
The latest from Random Acts, the innovative short form program from the UK’s Channel 4, this is an impressive dark comedy that cleverly takes double meanings to a gory place. Starring Asa Butterfield (Hugo, Ender’s Game), who delivers a knockout performance alongside supporting actors Ella Purnell (Sweetbitter) and Adam Buxton (Hot Fuzz), you’ll never consider the meaning of a pun the same way again—get it?
RIght Time, Wrong Tim breaks the fourth wall in a simulated sitcom that follows the Bell family, a dynasty of clockmakers, during a routine live taping that is totally derailed by the entrance of a clone of “Tim” triggered by a very bad pun. The first half of the film is admittedly a bit jarring. Shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio that calls back to the feel of old television sets, it’s almost too cheesy, flat and optimistic to endure without cringing. Yet, with the entrance of Tim’s clone, Vlahos craftily switches aspect ratios to widescreen and introduces a polished handheld aesthetic that serves to both be visually striking and to transport us on stage with the shellshocked thespians. The back and forth switch, as the Bell Family struggles to perform during the shakeup is further dramatized by the laughter signs and audience members that don’t seem alarmed at all of the events taking place.
The tension is quite surreal, and the tonal juxtaposition between the two halves of the film increases the effectiveness of both. Underpinning it all, Vlahos playfully capitalizes on his experience as an actor to dramatize a very real fear—the idea of something going wrong in the middle of a live performance. Coupled with a very real danger on set, the film tailspins into an altogether batshit crazy performance by Butterfield, as he faces a slew of evil clones of himself. While in some ways a silly premise, the film is layered with deeper themes—shattering the ideals of the perfect nuclear family and subverting antagonistic expectations, all in the service of dishing up general nightmare fuel.
Subverting both multi-cam sitcoms and fantasy-horror genres, Right Place, Wrong Tim is a wild ride, and perhaps the most wholesome bloodbath you’ll ever see.