Director – Glenn McQuaid
Cast – Dominic Monaghan, Ron Perlman, Larry Fessenden, Angus Scrimm, John Speredakos, Eileen Colgan, Brenda Cooney, Daniel Manche, Joel Garland
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Once again another great horror film goes unappreciated by many, despite awesome content and superb direction. In this case, the victim is I Sell The Dead, a witty UK horror film sure to please fans of atmospheric horror, as well as anyone who enjoys the usage of the undead.
I Sell The Dead stars Dominic Monaghan(The Lord of The Rings trilogy) as Arthur Blake, a renowned grave robber on the eve of his execution for a murder he did not commit. Father Duffy(Ron Perlman; Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, The Last Winter) has come to meet Arthur and prepare him spiritually for his execution, but Father Duffy’s curiosity over Arthur’s grave robbing business gets the best of him, and with the aid of a bottle of whiskey Arthur unleashes the fascinating events he came across while working his “trade”.
Fans of atmospheric and well-shot horror films reminiscent of old Mario Bava flicks should enjoy this one. Writer/director Glenn McQuaid obviously went for “cool” with this film, and found it from the get-go with awesome visuals, a sweet musical score, and a script with a storyline I have yet to see fully endorsed in the genre, but one I will gladly accept. I loved the look and feel throughout each of the graveyard scenes, especially because McQuaid decided to employ the ever classic foggy backdrops we saw much of in 50s horror, yet rarely see anymore these days. The live-action effects are great as well, and we get a few good spooks thanks to some sweet looking undeads, which do not rely merely on zombies, but vampires too. It is about time we see both zombies and vampires in the same film, and this filmmaker made it happen while blending in a few other horror sub-genres as well.
It is hard for me to say which is sweeter in this flick, McQuaid’s direction or his writing. This really may be one of the first times that I can say that both writing and direction are equally matched, which comes as even more of a surprise given they both come from one individual. His pacing is superb, and I never found myself facing a dull moment thanks to a good script, great execution, and a proper 85 minute runtime. The idea of grave robbing is something we really do not see too often in the genre, and I cannot understand why. All you have to do is use the corpses as antagonists and you pretty much have an interesting horror film already at your fingertips, yet somehow it seems this idea has yet to catch on. I really liked how this flick was told to us via Arthur Blake via first person accounts, simply because it just added a different feel to the film. Many unique ideas were brought into the story as we chronicle the many hijinks Arthur and his partner Willie Grimes(Larry Fessenden; Wendigo, The Last Winter) would get themselves into, which made this a truly enjoyable and memorable watch. I really did expect to see more of Ron Perlman, but like the great actor he is he made the most out of his scenes and sold his character well.
Overall, this is a fun horror film that comes with many elements of “cool” that are thankfully expertly executed into a sweet experience. The atmosphere is awesome, the jokes induce laughter, and the story is one we rarely get in the genre, but unique and worthwhile nonetheless.
You can read another review for I Sell The Dead from another close buddy of mine, a legitimate horror buff, HERE.