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[Panic Fest Review] THAT’S OUR TIME is a Bittersweet Reflection on Humanity and Loss


Marque Richardson and Debra Wilson in THAT'S OUR TIME (2023), directed by Alex Backes and Josh Callahan - Panic Fest 2023.
Courtesy of Big Picture Media

Inspired by the tragedy and loss of the COVID-19 pandemic, That’s Our Time is a speculative horror short written and directed by Alex Backes and Josh Callahan. Nestled between hopeful and hopeless, the film is an evocative story about death, grief, and fear. The short reflects the human need for connection while also asking the age-old question: how do you love someone doomed to die?


Starring Marque Richardson and Debra Wilson, That’s Our Time follows Danny (Richardson), a young man who struggles to form meaningful and lasting connections with the people around him. Throughout the short, we watch Danny dissect his struggles with his therapist, Dr. Miller (Wilson). Danny aches to connect with those around him but is haunted by the death he’s witnessed. Despite his inability to focus on anything but the passage of time, Dr. Miller believes in Danny. The film focuses on her attempts to make a difference with Danny –– before it’s too late.


That’s Our Time is a film that pushes audiences to think. The feelings the film evokes aren’t reactionary and short-lived but linger long after the end. Backes and Callahan’s script is pure excellence –– poignant and heartfelt themes balanced by a twist that surprises without being reduced to cheap shock value. Dialogue between the characters feels realistic and natural, while the character dynamics and profiles are equally reflective of people we all may know.



Still from THAT'S OUR TIME (2023), directed by Alex Backes and Josh Callahan - Panic Fest 2023.
Courtesy of Big Picture Media

Additionally, the writing is not only clever but subtle in its intelligence too. The title is a witty nod to the film’s premise but contains various meanings upon further inspection. That’s Our Time is a film that demands multiple rewatches to catch small things that might not be visible at first glance.


Along with superb writing, the film is supported by its phenomenal leads. Richardson’s performance is effortless. He balances Danny’s self-deprecating humor with slices of vulnerability that draw us in as naturally as breathing. The varied nuances and subtlety of his physical and facial acting embody Danny’s character nicely. Similarly, Wilson’s portrayal of Dr. Miller is warm and empathetic. Her chemistry with Richardson is dynamic and relaxed. The scene in which the two are joking back and forth is light as air, and for a moment, we forget what genre the film sits squarely within.


That’s Our Time’s horror lies within the deep-rooted grief and loneliness that pervade Danny’s world. While the film may be subtle, it doesn’t need to scream to be heard. Its universal themes will resonate with all audiences.


 



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