This is the stuff Halloween tales are made of! The IFC film I Sell the Dead, is a quirky and eerie story that has all the elements of Gothic folklore. It’s a period piece that mixes greed, murder, vampires, and zombies to create an old fashioned horror fest! When I say old fashioned, I literally mean old fashioned, the film takes place in the 19th century. It stars Dominic Monaghan (Lost, Lord of the Rings) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy) as two men on the opposite side of the law and the spirit world. Throw in a pending execution, and a bottle of whisky, and you’ve got I Sell the Dead!

The Plot:

As directed by Glen McQuaid, I Sell the Dead is about a young grave robber named Arthur Blake (Monaghan), who is prison awaiting his execution by guillotine. He’s approached by a priest named Father Francis Duffy (Perlman), during his last hours before his death. Instead of giving Arthur his last rites, Father Duffy want’s to hear about the origins and escapades of his career as a body snatcher. With the aid of alcohol and time to waste Arthur decides to tell his life story to the eager priest who’s more than willing to lend an ear.

The Good:

  • The Set: The one thing I love about this film is it’s old school setting. Everything from the bar to the cemetery look as if they were ripped out from the 19th century.
  • Ron Perlman: Kudos to Mr. Perlman for starring in a film that doesn’t involve him being covered in red paint. The role of Father Duffy isn’t exactly black and white depiction, but it’s a great departure from what we usually see from the actor.
  • Daniel Manche: He stars as the young Arthur Blake, and did an amazing job of it. The young actor is an Alabama native but pulled off a European accent with no problem. He’s a pleasure to watch, and fits right in with the veteran actors in his company.

The Bad:

  • The Story: Unfortunately, the story was not that interesting. It doesn’t grab your attention, nor does it peak your curiosity. Towards the end of the film it tries to add an element of surprise to the plot, but it’s too little too late.
  • The Special Effects: Considering this is an IFC Film, you can’t judge too harshly on things such as visual effects. Even though this is a low budget production, some of the special effects looked like pure animation. It’s a distraction that takes you out of the story, which you’re already struggling to stick with. If you can’t make it look real then just leave it out.


I Sell the Dead isn’t a horrible film by a long shot, but it does take time to get involved with. There are certain elements of the production that make it come across as a campy made for television movie. If you’re into that type of thing you’ll enjoy this film through and through, but unfortunately it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Rating: 6/10

I Sell the Dead will be available On Demand via IFC starting Wednesday, August 12th, and will open in Los Angeles on Friday, August 14th at The Laemmle Sunset 5.

Watch the trailer below…