Mallas, MA (2013)

One of the major highlights of “Mallas, MA” is the immense direction from director Sean Meehan. Part of the 48 Hour Film Project, “Mallas, MA” feels like a feature length film busting from the seams of its short film trappings, and while the film itself is fine, I wanted more. Surely, the idea of ghost hunters getting more than they bargained for has been done, but there could be a real unique turn here about crises of conscience and respecting the dead, in the end. “Mallas, MA” benefits from the incredible direction from Sean Meehan who just has a clear visual idea of what he wants this film to be.

It’s whimsical and comical but slightly spooky to boot. The opening scene features a large tracking shot of an entire town panning over to the title sequence that literally made me mutter “Whoa” aloud. Meehan has a great eye for whimsy and the supernatural, and the Fix It In Post team concoct a decent short film. Tim Cox and Maria Natapov play two con artists who make their money off of traveling to towns across the country and finding ghosts for an obscene charge. When they stumble upon a young Asian girl in an attic during one of their routine con jobs, they use her to help them create their own haunting. What “Mallas, MA” suffers in is the story, which often feels hasty while much of the character actions are inexplicable and baffling. Did the hunters know that this girl was a ghost? Did they eventually realize it? If they’re con artists wouldn’t finding a ghost help solidify their credibility? Did they honestly believe she was just a young girl in spite of her ability to go from place to place in seconds flat?

Were they just con men or ghost hunters who conned people? The film itself it quite decent but falls apart when you begin to ask questions about character motivations and actions involving the plot. This all culminates in to an ending that never really spoke to me nor did it explain much at all. If they knew this girl was a ghost why weren’t they scared? And why did con man Brian suddenly have a change of heart deciding to out himself as a con man on live TV? Did this ghost reveal something about herself that made him consider other people’s feelings? Why did she oblige them in taking pictures initially? “Mallas, MA” has potential to be an excellent short film, but it tends to really show the chinks in its armor in regards to much of what occurs once we reach the middle of the movie. That said, “Mallas, MA” has a very unique and excellent visual style that I appreciated. I hope to see more from director Meehan in the future.