“I Sell the Dead” is an awesome little horror throwback that is done extremely well considering what must have been a fairly small budget. And by saying the film has a small budget is by no means a knock as the clever and fun script managed to lure both Dominic Monaghan and Ron Perlman, but the whole film just has an air of smart, exhilarating indie spirit throughout. From spraying blood to boogey men to “what-the-hell-was-THAT-thing type effects, “I Sell the Dead” is just good old fashioned horror. And besides, when you’re making a fun film with good people and a smart script, you don’t need CGI or overblown scares and frights. Throw in a clear vision as to what your film is supposed to be and “I Sell the Dead” is a winner.
The basic storyline centers on Arthur Blake (Monaghan) and Willie Grimes (Fessenden), 2 grave robbers in what seems to be turn of the century England. Foggy streets lined with cobblestones give way to rickety graveyards on the outskirts of town where Grimes and Blake make their living digging up fresh corpses for local kook Dr. Quint (Scrimm). The film kicks off as Blake awaits execution for his crimes and is joined by Father Duffy (Perlman) to fess up to his wrong-doings. Over a bottle of whiskey, Blake recounts how he got into the grave robbing business and regales the priest with tales of horror, backstabbing and creatures of the night as evidently the area Grimes and Blake live in is rife with zombies, demons, vampires and your basic menagerie of ghouls.
While the film tends to be a tad too episodic, in the end it actually made me wish “I Sell the Dead” was a weekly series in which Grimes and Blake encounter some new kind of supernatural being they must conquer. I’d watch that show and if you see the film, I guarantee you would too. But as a film, it works too in that old-timey ghost story kind of way. Fessenden and Monaghan play off each other like some kind of classic comedy duo from films of yesteryear and again, even though there’s a feel of “and then this happened, and then this, it’s really hard not to be on board through the duration of the film.
Getting back to the low budget nature of the film, it’s important to note the amazing looking special effects and makeup work. These are classic blood and guts effects people, and they look really good. The film also features some nifty comic book style computer animation that reminded me of the classic film “Creepshow” which was undoubtedly an influence here. All in all “I Sell the Dead” is a good old fashioned horror movie for fans of classic monster movies and things that go bump in the night.