There’s some good news and there’s some bad news. Bad news is that family get-togethers are often rough. Good news is that yours will more than likely never be as rough as this one.
The bitterness floating around the taxi cab young engaged couple Roger and Gwen ride in on the way to see Roger’s sister, Brooke, for a Christmas get-together is enough to choke on. One would suspect that the yuletide spirit has skipped these two. And all suspicions are confirmed as they arrive at Brooke’s to find an old “buddy” of Roger’s, as well as his ex-girlfriend waiting for them. They too have been invited to this little shindig, much to Roger’s dismay and he immediately flies into a rage. The dirty looks and nasty comments between these four continue on into the house. And if their bickering isn’t enough for you, in comes Marcus. Marcus is a stranger to everyone and he claims that he’s Brooke’s new boyfriend. He also claims that Brooke was just involved in a minor car accident and that she would be arriving later in the evening, but that he had been sent in her place to get dinner started. Doing as miserable people do, nobody in the house likes Marcus. But then again, Marcus doesn’t really give anyone a reason to warm up to him. As soon as he enters the house, he’s ordering people around and being an overall surly sonofabitch. So he fits in with the rest of the household just fine. And so the evening continues on this unpleasant track as bitterness turns to boiling hatred between these five people while they impatiently await Brooke’s arrival. Throughout all of the arguments and private breakdowns we start to realize why each and everyone one of these people is truly there. Hidden agendas are revealed and this none too friendly reunion reaches a climax that puts your Uncle Jesse throwing a fisful of macaroni salad at your Dad at last summer’s 4th of July family picnic to shame.
Oh yeah, one more thing. To add even more tension to the evening, Brooke is upstairs the entire time dying in the bath tub, mangled by Marcus’ hand. We’re made aware of this from the get-go and we’re shown the grisly progress of her death as Marcus occasionally checks up on her. The tone of the film is consistently unsettling and we know this isn’t going to end pretty.
“Marcus” may be a bit much for some people to handle at first being that its few characters are such miserable turds. All interaction is so hatred laced that you may just find yourself wondering if there’s something more enriching you could be doing with your life at the moment. But then you realize that something wicked is heading down the road for all of these people and you can’t stop watching. After all, what’s more enriching than seeing a bunch of a******s get what they ultimately deserve? And there lies the devilish charm of “Marcus,” made all the more enticing by some incredibly fierce performances. The entire cast does such an amazing job of folding you into your hate that if you saw any one of these actors walking towards you on the street, you’d knock over the elderly just to get out of their way. Mission accomplished.
“Marcus” is one of the most unfriendly Christmas themed movies ever. I advise you watch it with those you love.