"Everybody's gonna die, cause it's the end of the world"
The main verse - repeated over and over again - in Dark Roast's end credit song, is a very appropriate description of the events that transpire 19 minutes beforehand; it isn't what you think though, Dark Roast is purposely setup to be an "accidental" horror-comedy short. What does that mean exactly? How can a horror film be a horror film, accidentally? Well, that's where the comedy comes into play.
Halloween night finds "Piss Bucket" band-mates Vanessa and Nathan (played by charismatic writer-director Topher Hansson, and the charmingly stoic Kati McCarron), stuck, bored, and looking for a way to pass the time at work (that being a small hipstery kind of coffee shop, cutely named "Grind Haus"). Awaiting the fledgling musicians at the end of their shift, is the opportunity they've been waiting for, a huge show that's promised nothing less than the catapulting of their band to super-stardom; all they have to do, is survive the night.
While that may sound like the kind of straight-forward over wrung plot you'd expect from a slasher or "home" invasion genre entry, it really isn't; "survive the night" is actually a bit misleading. You see, It doesn't only just refer to the young baristas looking to make a name for themselves, but the customers entering the coffee shop as well. Here's the funny part, the victims are only victims of, well, themselves! Maybe it's something in the air, maybe it's the coffee, but every single person that comes in for a drink, turns out to be their own worst enemy, ultimately doing themselves in. Who needs a serial killer when you have "victims" like these? You can understand then how the horror in Dark Roast is purposely accidental; clumsiness, it turns out, is the film's antagonist.
For the most part, each "kill" offers up something hilariously unique about it that you can't help but either gawk in astonishment or laugh in disbelief. I won't give them away, but the hammy performances of those meeting their demise, lend the perfect flavor to what would (should?) otherwise be disturbing acts of violence. Its a fantastic juxtaposition, as horror and comedy usually are, but the increased play on the later means a more effective result when the former comes into play. For this, I have to really tip my hat to Topher Hansson for not only striking that balance so well, but amplifying each component as much as possible. Funny parts are really funny, and gory parts are really gory, and none of it feels out of place. Great job.
As for the hopeful members of "Piss Bucket", you'll have to catch Dark Roast for yourself either via its festival run or an eventual release online in order to find out whether they make it to the big show, or that it turns out, punk truly is dead. Trust us though, this is definitely one horror-comedy blend you don't want to miss out on.