I Sell the Dead seems to be influenced by a great number of cult films, though it doesn’t quite make the list itself. There are some definite Hammer Horror influences, as well as an Evil Dead type horror comedy element, not to mention the Terry Gilliam type absurdities that are sprinkled throughout. If I were pitched a film like this, I would expect a film that I could love. I Sell the Dead somehow never gets close to becoming that film, instead feeling like a Frankenstein of a film, spliced together by the parts of better films and still somehow soulless.
Though I Sell the Dead promises comedic horror, there is little of either. This is not to say that the film doesn’t have an entertaining moment or two, but the laughs are forced and the horror has the opposite problem. The film is mostly told in flashback as Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) awaits his death sentence to be carried out. In the meantime he is visited by a mysterious priest (Ron Perlman) who is interested in hearing the story that led to this final place.
The story follows the misadventures of Blake and his grave robbing sidekick, Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden). These stories are often random and connected on only minuscule levels, involving the perils of living dead and alien corpses. Writer/director Glenn McQuaid previously worked in visual effects, and this is where the movie is stronger than average. Unfortunately it comes at the expense of story. It may have worked anyway had there been more thrills, and had Monaghan proved himself more capable with comedy.
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