Written by Malcolm Holt | Review by Prarthana Mitra
Malcolm Holt’s short domestic thriller “My Ride’s Here” takes off on a seemingly harmless note. In fact, labeling it as a thriller does not really do any justice to the film nor the genre because all the violence in Holt’s screenplay is contained in its conversation. A flashback or two might work in heightening the effect, but with good actors, the desired effect can well be achieved by what is known as a “box episode”.
“My Ride’s Here” opens with a run-off-the-mill family scene at the dining table and a situation which is as common as day. There are bowls of soup and a general atmosphere of sickness and malaise in the first few scenes of the film, against which dark family secrets eventually come tumbling out.
A family of three comprising Derek, his wife Emily and daughter Elizabeth are seen at first to be speaking placidly amongst themselves; they discuss the weather, work, Welp reviews and whereabouts. There seems to be an easiness marked by a faint note of uneasiness but you cannot immediately pinpoint the source of it.
As far as the story is concerned, Elizabeth’s parents have come down, quite suddenly as it turns out, with a bad bout of food poisoning; we can gather from Elizabeth’s words and worldly wisdom that she is Emily and Derek’s only daughter and has an unremarkable yet easy-going relationship with them. At times, she appears to be quite the ideal daughter who donates blood, makes them convalescent meals and gently rebukes them for visiting a brand new under-reviewed restaurant.
As the only one fit enough to nurse them, Elizabeth goes about comforting and cajoling them into a conversation that she veers slowly into coaxing a sinister confession out of them.
As she slowly pulls the fabled carpet from underneath their feet, one piece of information at a time, the viewer learns that Elizabeth has recently surmised from her blood group that she was adopted. After doing a little bit of digging around, she has also unearthed that Emily and Derek “accidentally” killed and buried their biological daughter in the backyard, along with their dog Elizabeth.
Quite a stretch but that’s not all; in the end, the alleged culprits are aghast to learn that they have been poisoned, while the film closes with Elizabeth uttering the titular lines and leaving them to die a slow and painful death.
What struck me the most about the script was the seamless shift in the narrative, from banal sickbed hypochondria-laced anxiety to an atypical exchange between a child and their parents, before finally devolving into an earth-shattering revelation.
The story has some quintessential realist elements, especially in the naturalistic bits about the bloodwork, burial, ancestries, adoption and “rebirth”. It is also interesting that Elizabeth chooses to dispose of Emily and Derek because they were never hostile or hurtful towards her. Simply put, “My Ride’s Here” can be construed as a revenge fantasy, centered around a family with unforgivable secrets. It is up to the filmmaker and his actors to portray the intended essence with sincerity and a hint of dark comic absurdism.
Prarthana is presently in between odd jobs and obtaining her master’s degree in literature. She loves modern poetry and meditative cinema. Based out of Calcutta, Prarthana observes people, football, films and enjoys writing about all three. Of late, she relates to Frank Ocean’s music. Her writing experience consists of writing for various sites such as Try Cinema, The Indian Economist, Doing The Rondo, Saintbrush and various academic journals.