Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Sell the Dead Review

I Sell the Dead, 2008
Reviewed by: Dan S.
Directed by: Glenn McQuaid
Written by: Glenn McQuaid
Starring: Dominic Monaghan, Larry Fessenden

In the Victorian period horror/comedy I Sell the Dead a young imprisoned grave robber recalls the more unusual jobs he pulled with his mentor in the form of lineal inter-connected short stories. The low key but energetic first act is by far the most successful but the second half falters when the pace slows down and goofy comic book villains and plot elements are clumsily introduced and rushed into an abrupt sloppy conclusion. In his directing debut, Glenn McQuaid, does a serviceable job of pouring on the classic gothic horror atmosphere with blinding fog machines and the always distant baying of the hounds. He also shows restraint with the gore, saving the modest but bright blood fountains for the film’s final climax. However, he struggles to maintain energy and often exposes the limited budget, utilizing poor looking CGI effects, despite the monster make up, sets, and designs being very impressive.

The film boasts big genre names in Ron Perlman and Angus Scrim, but unfortunately neither has much to do other than provide presence in very small roles. Likable character actor Dominic Monaghan dominates in the fast talking leading role, always natural and reasonably charismatic despite a fairly one dimensional part. Producer Fessenden costars as the ugly half of the duo in a solid but ultimately one note character performance. While the capable acting is refreshing for a low budget movie, everyone seems limited by the fairly shallow banter and overall writing. Monaghan and Fessenden generate most of the film's humor through their physical comedy. However, they lack chemistry and just aren’t very believable mates.


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