During a road trip, a strange young man makes an impromptu after-hours appointment with a local doctor. It appears to be a standard check-up but both the patient and the doctor are standoffish to one another. Both men appear to be hiding something -- the question is who will reveal their true self first.
Rob Carpenter, lead actor and one of the producers behind "The Hard Cut Double Feature", is back with his own short film, "Dirty Bill of Health", as part of the Viewster Online Film Festival. In "Dirty Bill of Health", a strange young man books a last minute appointment with a doctor during his road trip. There is instant tension between the doctor and the patient and both men act like they're hiding something, but what could that possibly be? A medical examination quickly turns into a cat-and-mouse game where one of the men may or may not be a serial killer in hiding.
Short films are a challenge because you have to fit a story and characters into a very small time frame, and in the case of "Dirty Bill of Health", tension and atmosphere as well. Not an easy task but Rob Carpenter seemed to pull off the feat effortlessly in his Hitchcockian inspired thriller. The movie wastes no time -- for good reason since it's only 12 minutes long -- as the tension builds between the two characters. Both clearly seem to be hiding something and also appear to be pushing the other to see who reacts first. Even with some little bits of comedy sprinkled here and there, the tension is never lost as "Dirty Bill of Health" boils over into an eventual bloodbath.
The cat-and-mouse game between the two characters builds a genuinely tense atmosphere and the short also manages to play its own game of cat-and-mouse with the audience, while toying with the idea that one of these characters might be a killer. It's able to keep you guessing and just when you think you've figured it out, the movie can make you doubt your own assumptions as to who is what and what is going to happen.
"Dirty Bill of Health" is an excellent short film; it does exactly what it needs to do in its brief runtime and gives you a complete film, in miniature form. There are nice twists to "Dirty Bill of Health" that works in the story's favor of helping to keep it interesting also while shamelessly toying with the audience. Even if you are able to guess the direction that the story is going in, it is still delivered in a stylized and fun manner where the climax will remain satisfying regardless if you see it coming or not. The quality in the production and the cast, while sparse, also helps in making "Dirty Bill of Health" an overall enjoyable short film to watch.