Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
As my Red Mango Readers would know, I am fan of Caribbean folklore content. I’ve reviewed films about douens, la diablesse, lagahoo, rolling calf, and soucouyants. Back in December I reviewed a comedic animated short about papa bois and a buck. Taking a decidedly less humorous take on the latter creature is 2016 Trinidadian horror short Feed the Buck, a student film written and directed by Alvin Totesau and produced by Rankin Production.
Feed the Buck centres on a poor young man who brings home who brings home the titular folklore creature the “buck”, which according to legend grants the owner financial success once it is fed regularly. While on a trip with his girlfriend strange supernatural things begin happening. For a low budget student film, it’s not bad. The production quality is decent. There is a good choice of music in creating tension. And there are some genuinely creepy moments. The acting is slightly above what you would expect, and I wouldn’t call any of it outright terrible. The design of the buck is laughable though, and in this case probably should have left it unseen.
Where Feed the Buck loses most of its points, however, is in its story. The film leaves out the explanation of the buck and its abilities, likely assuming Trinidadian audiences would be aware of it. But you can’t make a film just for one audience, so the omission would leave foreign viewers completely lost. And we see the main character Nick (Kyle Cox) living in a poor home with his girlfriend Rachel (Melissa Escovalez) but a few lines explaining why he needed the buck would have helped a lot. And for such a short film they spend a bit too much time on the romance and not enough of the scares, which was done relatively well (one laugh out loud moment notwithstanding). The film also had the opportunity for a great ending but completely squandered it by going the cliché route. The set-up could have been a Trini spin on Gremlins but the choices messed it up. While not a great watch, there are things to like here, and Totesau and team definitely show promise.
Score: 4 out of 10
You can watch Feed the Buck for yourself by clicking here. And you can check out more Caribbean folklore content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.