Rated “WEIRD” for “disturbing thematic material” and “improper use of fruits and vegetables,” upcoming film Romeo’s Distress shows viewers what might have happened if Juliet’s dad was a raving psychopath.
Jeff Frumess, the writer and director, describes his film as a “no-budget Shakespearean, Gothic Horror Thriller,” which is just the right amount of adjectives to get me hooked. A quick look at the trailer proves Frumess to be a man of his word. There are deranged pep talks, ominous phone calls, people dancing in graveyards, and one overworked smoke machine. Frumess’ “Romeo” is actually a boy named James, and his “Juliet” is a pretty girl named Jane. You will have to watch in order to find out if their story ends as tragically as the film’s titular character’s but, if his declaration of love is any indication, at least we know James isn’t going down without a fight.
Shot almost entirely in monochrome (which leaves room for some interesting scenes when color is used) and partially at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in New York, Frumess does his best to bring his imagination to life on an almost nonexistent budget (about $2,500). He and his first officer, Nick Bohun who acted as Associate Producer, Gaffer, and was responsible for the sound and score, worked with a small handful of actors on their own for fifteen months to produce Romeo’s Distress. We’ve all seen how long the credits go on for at the end of a feature film; we know that movies are a lot of work that usually take a lot of people to get them made. The fact that Frumess was able to put Romeo’s Distress together with a three person crew and a minimal cast is only further proof of the passion and dedication at the heart of indie cinema.