Love Alfred Hitchcock? Like a Good Twisted Tale? Enjoy the Short Film "Dinner"

Share Article

Watch the critically acclaimed John Buchanan film for free on Vimeo.

Dennis Marsico stars in "Dinner"

'Dinner' is a great little film from a director and writer who clearly has more talent than much of Hollywood. -- Henry Tucker, Blueprint Review (UK)

Love Alfred Hitchcock movies? Familiar with the unnerving work of the late great British writer Roald Dahl (author of what Hitchcock called the creepiest story he ever read)?

Those two major influences collide head on in the short film "Dinner," intended as an homage to Hitchcock and inspired by the twisted adult short stories of the author best known for the children's classic, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

"Dinner," written and directed by Florida filmmaker John Buchanan and starring Orlando actors Dennis Marsico and Meredith Branham, tells the troublingly amusing tale of an older male predator who uses the seemingly innocent lure of a dinner invitation to prey on vulnerable young women.

The 7-minute film, which had its world premiere at the London City Film Festival October 26, has received excellent reviews.

"'Dinner' is beautifully shot and manages to create more tension than the last few thrillers that I’ve watched," wrote Henry Tucker in the UK's Blueprint Review. "It is a great little film from a director and writer who clearly has more talent than much of Hollywood."

"'Dinner' pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock, and is filmed in the grand tradition of his dark humor and subtle nuances," said senior film critic Kathleen Amboy of SBCC Reviews, the film journal published by Santa Barbara City College, a sponsor of the prestigious Santa Barbara International Film Festival. "The film contains a nicely polished suspense in a neatly woven script, with tight editing, and a scintillating soundtrack, all within 7 minutes – not an easy feat, and quite impressive."

"Like all successful short films, the greatest aspect of 'Dinner' is in the payoff," noted Blair Hoyle at horror film site Cinema Slasher. "From the direction to the cinematography and everything in between, 'Dinner' is simply an enjoyable short film... Though it is far from in-your-face, the ending has a certain subtlety to it that is commendable. In an age of blood and gore, it was quite nice to see a conclusion without any blood or gore, in a short film that almost seemed destined to be filled with blood and gore."

The film, shot in August in Cocoa Beach, Florida and completed in September, is Buchanan's first.     

He hired a top-notch professional crew that included cinematographer William Schweikert, sound mixer Tony Tartaglia, editor Joe Walker and 1st assistant director Fiona Pagot, a veteran of the Cannes Film Festival.

"I believe in that old saying, 'You only get one chance to make a good first impression,'" Buchanan says. "So I decided to hire people that could make me look good."

As a screenwriter, Buchanan has sold two scripts to Hollywood and recently completed an assignment to write the script for a U.S. remake of an iconic European film.

"I love movies and I have my entire life," he says. "Because technology has democratized the process of filmmaking, anyone with a good idea and enough ambition can go make a film now and get it seen. And that is very exciting. So I hope the fact I did it at the ripe old age of 63, after suffering a near fatal heart attack, is an inspiration to others. If I can do it, anybody can do it."

The film will have its U.S. premiere November 9 at the 15 Minutes of Fame Film Festival in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

For more information on the making of the film, visit

You can watch "Dinner" free at

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

John Buchanan
Visit website