SIFF Review: I Sell the Dead

The age-old Burke and Hare tale of grave-robbing body-snatchers gets an undead twist in Glenn McQuaid's tongue-in-cheek horror of adventures in the resurrection trade (a term with new meaning when the corpses have a tendency to rise up on their own volition). Dominic Monaghan narrates the tale as Arthur Blake, one-time partner in crime with veteran bodysnatcher-for-hire Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden, looking every inch the English odd-job pug) and now on death row, spilling his story to a gregarious Irish priest (a marvelously wily Ron Perlman) as long as the whisky flows. Monaghan and Fessenden have a lively rapport as longtime partners in a trade in a culture where the corpses of the undead are more valuable than the inanimate dead and they shift their trade accordingly. After the shock of a vampire rising from a coffin or a zombie crawling out of the dirt wears off, it's just another job, a little more dangerous and a lot more profitable. There's no real story to speak of and no narrative through-line, just a series of colorful vignettes executed with the requisite gore and gallows humor. But with Perlman in slyly hammy form, Fessenden in a cockney caricature and Monaghan's boyish innocence balanced by the instincts of a jaded slum survivor, this underworld buddy story has personality to spare. It's a zombie snack of a horror comedy: insubstantial but fun.

I Sell the Dead Egyptian, midnight Fri., May 22. Neptune, 9:30 p.m. Mon., May 25.

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