O Negative


“Everything OK?”

Main Cast: Steven McCarthy, Alyx Melone

Director: Steven McCarthy

I recently watched another Alter short, this time the 2015 O NEGATIVE written by its stars Steven McCarthy (Fargo) and Alyx Melone (Frankie Drake Mysteries), with McCarthy also directing, and I’m sort of at a loss.

Without doing further research, I don’t know if McCarthy and Melone are together in real life, but if they wrote this together, this seems like a CLEAR love letter from one to the other.  Or maybe they’re just that talented.

O NEGATIVE is a vampire story.  In it, The Woman is weak and unresponsive in the back of The Man’s car, so he takes her to a small town motel where he puts a tube down her throat and feeds her.  When she wakes up, they shower before The Man heads out to a bar to pick up a local woman for The Woman to feed on properly.  Afterward, he cleans up and they get in the car to head down the road again, exchanging the only bit of dialogue between them when she asks, “Everything ok?” and credits roll.

Now, that seems straightforward enough.  So why am I at a loss?

Because I am of two minds on this one.

On the one hand, there’s little “plot” here.  There is no character growth and it doesn’t feel so much like a STORY as it does an EVENT.  It’s an occurrence in the life of these characters, but in the end, the audience learns nothing, we’re just meant to move on to the next movie.

On the other hand, there seems to be such intention behind every shot, every movement on the part of the actors, I can’t help but feel like, as I said, this movie is meant as a love letter.  And THAT is where it draws me in and also confuses me because I thought these Alter shorts were supposed to be HORROR movies.  Sure, she’s a vampire and there’s blood galore here, but O NEGATIVE is not a horror movie, it’s a love story.

I’ve often said over the years if I had the chance to be a vampire with my wife and spend the next several hundred years with her, I’d do it.  Granted, The Man in this movie isn’t a vampire, but a familiar, sent out to do the shopping and clean up the mess afterward, but there seems to be such a connection between the two here, they are very clearly in love with each other.  Again, I wondered if the stars are an actual item. If they’re not, that’s some good acting.

O NEGATIVE rides that very fine line between being sexy and grimy.  The interactions between the Man and Woman are very erotic and loving, but everything else here feels cold and gritty and just gross.  The motel is a dump, the bar he goes to isn’t much better.  Outside the weather is small town Canada in the bleak winter and that’s NOT a good look, no offense to small town Canadians.  The mess the Woman leaves in the bathroom is unbelievable, but the connection between the two in the aftermath is … well, the passion between these characters is obvious and offsets the tone of EVERYTHING else in this film.

This is a moment in time between two people and it begs the question of what came before to lead them here.  I would love to see a prequel—not necessarily a sequel because I can’t honestly see things turning out well for these two further down the line; she’s a vampire, he’s not, she’s going to stay young, he’s not—to see how they met and watch those sparks fly.   But that’s because, this is, like I said, not a horror movie, but a love story.

At a loss for how to put my thoughts in order for this one, I had my wife watch it and afterward I asked, “What did you think of it?” and she replied, “Other than that’s us?”  Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought when I saw it, too.  So do I recommend O NEGATIVE?  Of course.  As long as you go in knowing it’s not a horror movie, despite the vampire and all the blood.  Kudos to McCarthy and Melone for reminding me just how into my wife I am.  Not that I needed it.

Watch O NEGATIVE free on YouTube.

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