Director Patrick Rea delivers a wicked little tale of sibling rivalry and voodoo in his short film Counter Parts. The film opens with twin sisters (Somyia Finley) fighting over a doll as youngsters; then the story brings us to the present, where one sister is a famous actress, Alexis McCoy, with addiction issues and the other, Sandra, has recently been struck blind and left with only one leg from a car accident. The two sisters have an awkward meeting, after which Alexis’s unhappy maid Beatrice (Millie Milan) slips Sandra a business card for voodoo practitioner Madame Wanga (Lonita Cook). Sandra and her driver (Jim Schweers) visit Madame Wanga, and the suffering sister devises a bargain to improve the quality of her life – at Alexis’s expense, of course.
The screenplay for Counter Parts, cowritten by Patrick Rea and Michelle Davidson, is infused with dark humor and is written handily enough that viewers get to know these twins and their relationship right off the bat – something quite important in a short with a running time of about 11 minutes. It also manages to throw in a couple of clever twists in that short running time.
Somyia Finley does a wonderful job portraying both both sisters. She plays Sandra first as a tragic figure and then as a calculating, black-hearted soul, while giving Alexis a sense of sharp-tongued arrogance. Finley is on the screen for the majority of the running time and is a pleasure to watch. Lonita Cook is quite good as Madame Wanga, displaying devilish grins that show her character knows that voodoo spells rarely, if ever, work out the way customers want. The rest of the supporting cast has much smaller roles but everyone gives impressive turns.
Patrick Rea always delivers high quality as a director and Counter Parts is no exception. He is assisted well here by frequent collaborators, including director of photography Hanuman Brown-Eagle and composer Julian Bickford. Rea has found a nifty niche in the horror genre with his marvelously crafted, always entertaining short films. It would be great to see him and his shorts, including Counter Parts, reach a wider audience.
Counter Parts: (4 / 5)