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First Look Review - MURDER MADE EASY

murder made easy review
Murder is on the menu when guests arrive at a dinner party.







Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: David Palamaro

Starring: Christopher Soren Kelly, Jessica Graham, Daniel Ahearn, Sheila Cutchlow, Edmund Lupinski

murder made easy poster

Sometimes, the simplest plot ideas make the most effective movies. A plot that can be explained in a few lines finds its strength in being a straightforward story, and with tight editing and a reliable pace it can work in its favour to be so succinctly explained.

Murder Made Easy for example can be summarised in one line - widowed Joan and her friend Michael invite friends to dinner where murder is on the menu. To its benefit, it barely deviates from this summary.

Starting with plinky soft jazz playing over some cheesy '80s credits as the camera hovers over the framed moments of friends, its obvious that this is going to feature the more extravagant caricature types rather than genuine characters (there is actually a picture of the vegan character hugging a tree for cripes sakes!). At least this opening sets you up to not expect a deep discourse set in reality.

We finally settle and are treated to a close up of the group of friends posing before a theatre, hence allowing the audience an insight into their past connections.

murder made easy

Joan (Jessica Graham) and Michael (Christopher Soren Kelly) are preparing a dinner together for friends, wondering if people will gossip about them as it is a year since Joan’s husband Neil has passed on, and maybe people will think Joan and Michael are spending a little too much time together.

First to arrive is ex-alcoholic Marcus (Edmund Lupinski), who exclaims over the ‘theatre’ picture as it’s from a play that Michael had directed in his past before Joan; this is news to her and she’s intrigued, but has more pressing murderous things to do, and so moves on with the first course of the evening - Marcus.

This leads to my favourite thing about this film - each guest that attends is introduced as a menu course, a creative and fun decision.
After some trips down memory lane and Michael’s tenuous grip on his job is revealed, Marcus is promptly dispatched, and it's on to course two.

Next up is friend Cricket (Emilia Richeson), masseuse/hippie who dresses as you would if you were playing a vegan hippie spiritualist at a fancy dress party. Her dinner is just organic salad (cause that’s all us vegans eat, dontcha know? - lol).

There’s a sĂ©ance-type scene that Richeson overacts (it goes on for so long it’s like being hammered in the forehead by a rubber chicken) before she is also dispatched.

murder made easy

Pretentious, arrogant filmmaker Damian (Daniel Ahearn) comes over to lech all over Joan and offer to “get her back on the horse” - blergh!

He is seeking funding for his new documentary subject - ‘Homeless fashion and dance culture’. Unfortunately it seems we won’t see this exercise in hilarity as yep, Damien is next to go.

Course four is insufferable author Angela (Sheila Cutchlow) who, it seems, plagiarised from Neil - she’s barely finished her pasta before it's time to die.

Things seem simple enough before they get a little messy, and then they get a little bloody, and then a twist happens, which leads to a more hard-edged ending than I had expected.

It's nicely directed by David Palamaro, with some interesting creative choices such as when a policeman arrives (a natural Paul A Rose); it is shot from his perspective and we never even see his face for the entire door step exchange, only once he enters the residence.

The long takes are also effectively used here.

A short runtime works in this film's favour; it does not outstay it welcome, moves along briskly and doesn’t telegraph its surprises.

The script by Tim Davis is snappy and aside from a few saggy dialogue-heavy moments it is successful in staying light, humorous and compelling, with even a small dollop of tension thrown in.

murder made easy

The main drawback for me would be the singular setting of the house; it may have benefitted from some sort of flashback scene just to get you out of that lounge room for a few minutes.

Graham, angular and cold, pulls off this role with aplomb, but the real star is Soren Kelly, who has charisma in swathes. It’s a pleasure to watch him all but twirl a moustache over his wicked plans but also add in a measure of cynical cool. Michael’s character is quick witted and engaging and Soren Kelly is more than up to the task of bringing him to life.

More murder-mystery than outright horror, this is still successful in its darker moments, but even more so in its comedic ones.

A fluffy and sharp lemon soufflé, this dish is best enjoyed cold.


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