MARK MACREADY AND THE ARCHANGEL...
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
Mark Macready is Manchester’s last line of defense against monsters and demons. But what will he do when his very own wife is the next target of the insidious “Archangel” serial killer? Find out in this brilliantly deadpan horror-comedy from across the pond.
Is it good movie?
Mark Macready is a Midnight Warrior in the G.M.P.I.D, basically a police force that patrols Manchester, keeping the cockney citizens safe from marauding demons, ghouls, and fiends. Macready is like John Wayne-brand toilet paper: he’s rough and tough and don’t take shite off no one. He has a permanently raised eyebrow, a perpetually stuffy nose, and absolutely one tone of voice. He gets the job done when no one else can or will. When his wife is kidnapped, presumably by the “Archangel” – a shape-shifting serial killer who does nasty, terrible things to women (no, really) – he has to go “dark” in order to get answers. This mainly involves swearing at people, punching people, pointing guns at people, and generally being completely badass. But when you’re dealing with a villain who can look like anyone, who does a renegade loose-cannon cop who plays by his own rules trust?
I’m going to take the hard-line and say that if you don’t love this 30-minute short film, you’re probably an idiot. Picture a completely deadpan mix of Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Young Ones. Need more? Okay: Imagine Sin City directed by the 1986 Sam Raimi from a script by the 1987 Clive Barker. Now crank all that coolness up to ten. And Ryan McDermott, as Macready (also co-writer and producer), comes off as the love-child of Nick Frost and Russell Crowe, raised by Bruce Campbell. Not to gush, but he is the linchpin of the film. Being the titular character, the whole thing would fall apart if he didn’t own the role. Luckily, he does. He goes through the whole affair with the same vocal inflection and facial expressions whether he is proposing to his wife, having a heart to heart with his partner, Ed, or busting up a She-Snakes feeding frenzy.
The film is low-budget, but not at all amateurish. The production company, CM films, has had some critical success with their straight comedy films, but for their first horror endeavor found themselves in the position of having to self-fund the project (hence the multiple hats worn by the cast/crew). What results is a film that chooses to embrace that fact instead of being beaten by it. They had the intelligence to understand that film grain and poor lighting can actually enhance a script with the particular qualities of Mark Macready, and utilized that fact in earnest. With the muted colors and localized foreground lightning, keeping the backdrops always in the dark, the film ends up looking like a Hammer Film on meth. The special makeup effects are also obviously enhanced by this scheme. Let this be a lesson to all inspiring indie filmmakers: a great script and a competent cast and crew can trump financial limitations every time.
PS: I gave this film four beers. I wish I could give it five. Hell, I wish I could buy these guys five beers.
Video / Audio
Video: No info, but obviously shot in video. The grain and specifically poor lighting work very well for it.
Audio: No info, but the sound is generally good. One particular actor's ADR is obvious (possibly an intentional joke?), but other than that everything is clear.
Mark Macready and the Archangel Murders is certainly the best 30-minutes I’ve spent in a long time (90-minutes, if you count the fact that I watched it three times). It is pitch-perfect dry humor, downright hilarious if you are smart enough to get it. An adrenalinized caricature of an anti-hero cop ass-stomping on monsters left and right. If you do not love this film, I question your horror fan credentials. Heavily. Seek it out.
Edit: The film will be playing as part of the Zero Film Festival in NYC at the Galapagos Art Space on December 12th, 2009.