Original Release Date: January 16, 2009 (USA)
Run Time: 85 minutes
Lately horror fans have been treated to an influx of decidedly above-average smaller, or “independent,” film releases. Offerings like “Dead Snow,” “Let the Right One In,” and “Pontypool” have shown fans of the genre that, thankfully, there are filmmakers out there that are bucking the trend set by big-budget Hollywood studios that seem content to pump out the same formulaic and largely predictable scary-movie tripe (with exceptions to every rule, of course).
I’m happy to report that “I Sell the Dead” continues the trend of highly-enjoyable small-scale releases. Admirably blending comedic elements seamlessly into the very EC Comics/ Burke-and-Hare style story, the bulk of the movie is told via flashback by Arthur Blake, a professional grave-robber living in Great Britain in the 1800s, played with excellent post-“Lost” brilliance by Dominic Monaghan. Blake and his partner in crime, Willie Grimes (played with just the right amount of crazy by Larry Fessenden, who not only acts but is the producer of the film as well), have enjoyed the grave-robbing business for years, being successful enough at it to make a modest living, until they day they are caught by the authorities and charged with murder – a crime the two men claim they were framed for. With Grimes meeting the wrong end of the guillotine in the opening scene of the movie, it’s up to Blake to recount the tales of their misadventures to a priest who visits him the night before his execution.