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Why I Had To Kill You While You Slept | Dark Comedy Short Film | Manalapan, NJ

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Why I Had To Kill You While You Slept | Dark Comedy Short Film | Manalapan, NJ 4

“Why I Had To Kill You While You Slept” is a dark comedy about a not-so-desperate housewife who decides to kill her terrible husband and enlists her best friend for moral support. Written, directed and edited by Anthony Marinelli, the film was inspired by true stories told to the filmmaker by Lisa Riva and Bradley Griffiths who, along with the two lead actors, Amanda Greer (who plays Donna) and Denise Reed (who plays Lisa, her best friend), compiled a list of transgressions (aka, “a litany of faults”) they have experienced by men throughout their lives. For an added dose of conflict, a third character, Greta (played by Jackie Kuczinski) enters the scene as a twenty-something reminder of how naive Donna once was at a younger age when she overlooked behavior in her husband that probably should have been considered a bright red flag. Rounding out the cast are Joseph Cassese (who plays Lisa’s husband Matt who nearly slices off her calf with his “freakishly long toenails”), Michael Yadvish (who is also the film’s cinematographer and plays Greta’s inappropriately flirtatious boyfriend, Frank), and Peter Argento (as Jim, Donna’s neglectful, disrespectful, and offensively flatulent husband). The film takes a funny, albeit exaggerated, view of a woman who has had enough and has decided to take matters into her own hands in order to regain control of her life. 

Why I Had To Kill You While You Slept | Dark Comedy Short Film | Manalapan, NJ 5

The production was filmed over a period of seven days in the suburbs of New Jersey and was inspired by stories Lisa Riva told to the filmmaker over margaritas at a Mexican restaurant. It was revealed that she and Bradley had intended to write a book called “Why I Had To Kill You While Your Slept” and, as she proceeded to expound on what were ultimately hilarious transgressions by their husbands, it became readily apparent that this was a great idea for a film. Post production was completed in October 2023, just in time to premiere in the Chelsea Film Festival in NYC. It was filmed with the Black Magic Pro 6K camera and edited in Adobe Premiere. Original theme music was composed by the director’s son, Nick Marinelli, who is also the drummer for New Jersey band, Via Ripa (you can listen to their music on Spotify and follow them on Instagram).

Why I Had To Kill You While You Slept | Dark Comedy Short Film | Manalapan, NJ 6

In addition to winning awards for best comedy screenplay and premiering in the Chelsea Film Festival, “Why I Had To Kill You While You Slept” recently won Best Narrative Short and Best Dark Comedy in the Los Angeles Film Awards and will make its Jersey premiere at the Garden State Film Festival on March 23rd at 2:30pm.

The director, Anthony Marinelli, was cited as one of the top directors in SHOOT magazine’s 2023 New Directors Showcase and is also a well established commercial editor whose work can be viewed on his website:

The film will continue its festival run throughout 2024 and welcomes any distribution opportunities. 


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