Tales From The Murder Room Image

Tales From The Murder Room, created by the Hollins brothers, started out as a television series. Now, writers/directors King Jeff and Gorio have re-edited those episodes into a mystery-noir anthology. Each segment starts in the real world with a random (or maybe not so much) person picking up a copy of the titular book. The real meat and potatoes are the black-and-white cases (chapters) the wordless individual is reading.

The tales all begin in the “murder room,” the interrogation room of a Lousiana police department. Detective Jerry July (King Jeff), Lt. George Rook (Gorio), and Detective Brian Lane (Brian Lanigan) must solve the death of a mailman, a callgirl’s murder, and the killing of a gang member, among others. These stories are taken directly from the original show and plopped inside the new wraparound… and that’s part of the problem.

Throughout Tales From The Murder Room, understanding how or why this is the reader being followed is futile. The first person is bandaged from head to toe and making a sandwich. How or why is he all wrapped up? The next is an older man feeding his dog than reading the book. Why did the film jump from the bandaged person to this new guy? Is there a connection between the cases they’re reading and the character in the wraparound? If so, it is never properly alluded to or set up, nor is it obvious.

“…must solve the death of a mailman, a callgirl’s murder, and the killing of a gang member…”

But the cases themselves are brilliant. The black-and-white cinematography by the Hollins brothers adds a great sense of atmosphere. Every segment feels mysterious and gritty, even when the silly enters the fray. The close-ups of the suspects come across as appropriately intense, helping to sell these people as potentially violent. Given that the stories range in length from 8 to 20 minutes (approximately), there’s not much time to set all that up, so the fantastic cinematic language being employed helps immensely.

The script for Tales From The Murder Room is also quite good. The dialogue is somewhat absurd, as seen in the first case revolving around the death of a mailman. The detectives explain the number of mistakes their suspect made but get tripped up with whichever number they are on. It is funny while never breaking the tone of any given segment. An ongoing joke involving the pictures of the victims being drawn by the detective’s granddaughter is truly amusing.

King Jeff and Gorio are more than just talented directors and writers, as the two prove to be strong actors as well. They perform their roles as Detective Jerry and Lt. George naturally, playing the sometimes goofy lines entirely straight. Their underselling of it makes the moment both funnier and creepier. They also perform the seriousness of the crimes with the correct amount of revulsion and anger.

King Jeff and Gorio clearly poured a lot of sweat, blood, tears, and love into Tales From The Murder Room. Despite a few questions about the wraparound, all of their hard work pays off. The segments are thrilling and intense, with excellent camera work to boot. Here’s hoping the Hollins brothers can keep their creative spirit alive and well into their next project.

Tales From The Murder Room (2022)

Directed and Written: King Jeff, Gorio

Starring: King Jeff, Gorio, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Tales From The Murder Room Image

"…thrilling and intense, with excellent camera work..."

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  1. King Jeff says:

    Thank you Bobby Lepire and Film Threat for the wonderful review. We appreciate it very much. The film is currently on Tubi TV and doing well. Thanks again guys. And to Chris Gore….keep up the great work on Film Threat

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