April 7, 2010 in Blu-Ray Reviews
Written and Directed By: Glenn McQuaid
19th century justice has finally caught up to grave robbers Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) and Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden). With the specter of the guillotine looming over him, young Blake confides in visiting clergyman Father Duffy (Ron Perlman), recounting fifteen years of adventure in the resurrection trade. His tale leads from humble beginnings as a young boy stealing trinkets from corpses, to a partnership with seasoned ghoul Willie Grimes as they hunt creatures unwilling to accept their place in the ground. The colorful and peculiar history of Grimes and Blake is one filled with adventure, horror, and vicious rivalries that threaten to put all involved in the very graves they’re trying to pilfer.
The Horror/Comedy is a tough sell. Most of the time, they end up stupid and unmemorable. Occasionally a few gems appear such as Gremlins, Arachnophobia, and most recently Zombieland. Arriving straight to DVD, though is another Comedic take on Horror with a Gothic twist, Glenn McQuaid‘s criminally underseen I Sell The Dead starring Dominic Monaghan. With a clever balance of the comedic and macabre, strong acting, believable sets and costumes, and brilliant cinematography, I Sell The Dead is a gem worthy to be discovered.
Glenn McQuaid‘s only other directorial credit is a short film called The Resurrection Apprentice which birthed the characters for I Sell The Dead. I haven’t seen it, but hear it’s worth checking out. So, this makes I Sell The Dead his feature length film debut. His only other credits of note are Visual Effects Supervisor for the Independant “Eco-Horror” flick The Last Winter (also starring Ron Perlman). I say all this because, I Sell The Dead is a very strong debut effort that puts Glenn McQuaid on the map as a talent to watch.
The plot of I Sell The Dead is fairly straight forward. Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) is facing the guillotine and recounts his misadventures to Father Duffy (Ron Perlman). It’s a fun, somewhat lighthearted yet macabre and dark story that has it’s twists and turns and stays very engaging all the way through.
Can someone tell me why Dominic Monaghan isn’t cast in more films? He was one of my favorite characters in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and he’s one of my favorite characters on Lost (I’ve only seen the first season, don’t judge me). He is absolutely wonderful in I Sell The Dead and really anchors the movie. Here he plays Arthur Blake, a young grave robber who was brought into the trade by a surly Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden reprising his role from The Resurrection Apprentice). Monaghan does a wonderful job of fully rounding out his character making a character who steals bodies for money likeable. In a supporting role, Ron Perlman is really fun here sporting an Irish accent. He plays the chipper Irish Clergyman Father Duffy and is obviously having fun here. His interactions with Dominic Monaghan are pitch perfect and help move this story along.
Finally, a lot can be said on how this low budget film got a bang for their buck. I Sell The Dead looks great and while some extreme grain during some dark scenes give away the low budget nature, the sets, costumes and make up effect help to elevate this film above most independent horror films. You totally believe that this is 19th century England and all the characters look like they belong.
If you love Horror movies, I Sell The Dead won’t scare you. However, it’s gothic tone and story about grave robbers, zombies and vampires will more than make up for any scares. With supurb effects, moody cinematography, wonderful acting and characters, I Sell The Dead is an independant film worth paying attention to.