I Sell The Dead Review
The FilmI dream of a cinema where accents of the past are little different from the ones you hear in the present. In that place, no one has a "faaahrm een Ahhfreekah" and Mary Poppins hears the word "God" when people thank her. In my fictional place, just getting the continent right in an actor's vocal performance is thought of less highly than acting your part as best as you can. In this fictional place Keanu is forever Ted, and no one will ever ask him to impersonate an English gent.
Can this be excused as comic intent? Does the novelty of a grave-robbing romp with two rapscallions caught amongst zombies, vampires and aliens mean that crimes against pronuniciation can be ignored? Well, yes and no. I am instinctively reluctant to forgive comedy horror films given my recent experience of Dead Snow as the comic is often used to cover up deficiencies in the terror department. Directors often opt for the route of parody to hide the fact that they can't do tension or suspense. This directorial road, I have christened it the Landis highway, boasts a comic hit ratio of about one in 10 and this is usually chosen because the same director's horror success rate is even lower.
And he relies a lot on this cast to make the whole project work. This is a cast with accents that do not belong to the fictional world I mentioned who ignore subtlety and replace it with broad comic effect. McQuaid indulges their individual performances, and as a result the ensemble acting is competitive rather than complementary. A lot of McQuaid's dialogue is played rather than said and chemistry often fails to be created in the tumult of events.
For the time being though this is funny and awfully entertaining, to be shurr
Technical SpecsThe transfer is encoded with the AVC/MPEG 4 codec and presented at 2.35:1. There is a light dusting of film grain, contrast is excellent, and detail in and out of shadow is very good where the film-maker intends to show it. The autumnal palate of the movie is reproduced well, edges are natural and this is a lovely presentation of such a modest production.
Special FeaturesThe film is accompanied by two commentaries. McQuaid's commentary is rather dry and straightforward and much more informative than his two star's double act. Larry Fessenden and Dominic Monaghan are talking on the day of the Los Angeles premiere with Fessenden's role as producer giving plenty of background to casting and shooting. Fessenden explains that his earlier film with McQuaid is included in truncated form within the film and that McQuaid is none too happy with it. The director explains scheduling issues, reshoots and his direction to keep it "broad" and "comedic", and he is unstinting in his praise of Fessenden for mucking in with the production.
The making of documentary follows the filming with intercut interviews from cast and crew, and is presented in HD. A very tired Ron Perlman talks about his joy at working on independent films and the camaraderie on set, Monaghan celebrates the script and McQuaid explains how he got it all done and kept to budget. The documentary meanders a bit but it is edited well and ends with the film being wrapped.
Producer Peter Phok explains that the director's background in visual effects was key to getting the film made in the FX documentary. The use of 3-D computer software to storyboard the film is illustrated, and McQuaid explains how the agency Spontaneous were approached to extra digital effects and how he created a graphic novel to accompany the screenplay.
SummaryAn entertaining and ambitious low budget flick gets a nice blu-ray release. Recommended for fans of old British horror movies or anyone who likes a wacky idea well delivered.
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
7 out of 10