Three friends get more than they expected if they think they are about to win the game Murder Bury Win, A charming black comedy that turned out to be a fan favorite at last year’s Austin Film Festival. It will certainly not supplant the cult classic from 1985. Note, as the best film about a board game so far (“Flames … on the side of my face!“), but it’s very solid indie fare and great fun.
((Some spoilers below, but no major ones revealed.)
According to the official summary:
Three friends created a board game Murder Bury Winand they think it has what it takes to be a bestseller on the indie charts. If your attempt to crowdfunding fails, a mysterious man makes you an offer: he will publish your game on the condition that it is recognized as the sole creator and owner. After a dispute over game rights leaves them with a body on their hands, the young men realize how suspicious, like murder, the freak accident appears. Now that there are few options left, check out their game for guidance. The premise of their game? How to murder someone … and get rid of the body.
Chris (Mikelen Walker, All Americans), Adam (Erich Lane, Dear whites) and Barrett (Henry Alexander Kelly) worship a mysterious game designer named VV Stubbs, best known for his role-playing game Murder Wall. They aspire to be like their hero and dream of having the blockbuster hit of another crowd-funded game. Puppy on fire (A running gag that alludes to the popular crowd-funded game Exploding kitten). If they think they have found a potential supporter, they are more than willing to take seven different buses to meet the benefactor in a remote, ramshackle house deep in the woods.
The film is at its best when it celebrates the passion and enthusiasm of its main characters. The gameplay is often rotated as it really happens – and in the lively imaginations of the players. The trio’s nerd gassing argument about whether a bear trap could be a viable murder weapon is perfect. (Think of it as a Chekhov’s bear trap.) Come on, the stapler and the cob are even less potentially fatal.
In terms of interpersonal dynamics, Chris is essentially somewhere between the disrespectful, greedy, and frankly rather obnoxious Adam and the softer, gentler, more idealistic Barrett, who admits he prefers cooperative play to ruthless competition. It’s like having a devil and an angel on both shoulders and pushing Chris to make a choice. And it’s Chris’s pick when the chips are down that sets the final act in motion.
The fictional game itself involves all players drawing three murder and three funeral cards and then discarding the two funeral cards they don’t want. (“Meat grinder,” “hide in a coffin,” “wrap in cement,” and “feed to wild boar” are all discarded.) There are also unforeseen circumstances cards to thwart their plans (“pepper sprayed” or “cops come.) at “). Then they roll the dice and move their pieces around the board, hoping to be the first to get away with their fantasy murder.
Your mysterious benefactor – perfectly played by Craig Cackowski (Drunk story, veep, community) – thinks the game is promising. Rather than asking players to take on fictional roles, they are basically playing and doing themselves Murder bury wina game of dark wish fulfillment. But he also criticizes the game design because there is no clear motive for insulting the victim. “You can’t kill anyone without a motive,” he says. “It’s just sociopathic. And mean.”
Writer / director Michael Lovan doesn’t have much experience with feature films, but the UCLA film school graduate nonetheless shows an impressive mastery of pace, structure and tone. The performances are good and the story co-written with John Hart has a few nice twists. That said, after a certain point in the movie, there is really only one way this can all go down. You might be wondering how far you would Be ready to go to get your heart’s desire.
Murder Bury Win is now available on VOD.
Listing image from Gravitas Ventures