Austin Film Festival 2020 Review: MURDER BURY WIN

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Even though the programmers placed this film in the Comedy Vanguard category, this bloody and gory comic film could also fit in with the Dark Matters label, as the humor goes very dark, embracing gags of the gallows variety. That can be a very difficult line to walk, and unfortunately the filmmakers behind this movie obviously struggled with it. With awkward, clunky pacing, jokes that don’t always pay off, and an ending that has no sense of humor at all, Murder Bury Win is an utter disapoppointment. Judging from my rating, one can tell that not everything goes completely wrong, but in the end, the story’s inventive premise never truly pays off.

The film focusses on a group of creative friends who have come up with some rough ideas for a fun and exciting board game. Chris (Mikelen Walker), Adam (Erich Lane), and Barrett (Henry Alexander Kelly) have created a board game where players must choose their weapon, kill their intended target, and figure out the best way of disposing of the remains. After a crowd-funding campaign totally fails, the three buddies begin to think that their game idea will never see the light of day. That is, until Chris receives a call from a mysterious interested party (Craig Cackowski) When the guys meet with said interested person, they soon realize that he plans to buy their idea from them cheaply, only to claim total credit for its invention. This realization leads to an awkward confrontation resulting in the opportunist’s accidental death. Desperate to protect themselves, Chris, Adam, and Barrett turn to their game to “solve” their current predicament.

I honestly feel that they are the ones to blame, because the cast members give solid performances and have comedic chops, but the material on paper and the direction just isn’t there for them. The filmmakers had some great and wickedly humorous ideas, but the writing and direction do not use these ideas to their fullest potential. Granted, I did say above that walking the line between the realities of violence and copmedy can be difficult, but I feel that Lovan and Hart forgot that they were making a comedy film.

Murder Bury Win is definitely not one of the worst films I have seen, but it is a movie that never soars like it should have. I often find this experience more disappointing, as opposed to watching a film I already know is destined for failure.

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