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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

ART OF THE DEAD (Film Review)

                                    Starring: Jessica Morris, Tara Reid, Richard Grieco

                                                 Directed by: Rolfe Kanefsky


   Leaping off of their Party Bus To Hell back in 2017, director Rolfe Kanefsky and executive producer Sonny Mahal dabble in the palette of necrosis with their latest endeavor titled Art Of The Dead, and it's a fair estimate to offer that these aren't the types of composition that you'd want hanging up in your own home - be safe and stick to your kid's dried macaroni self-portrait that you've got scotch-taped to your fridge door if you feel the need to show off to house guests.

  The film itself starts off with the extremely pricey purchase of 7 paintings, bought by a man who unbeknownst to him has just invested in the septet of the deadly sins, each contained within each respective piece of art. When these evil masterpieces are hung up, they'll wreak havoc upon who may dare to stare into their diabolical canvas - the results are horrific to witness, but hey...ART IS LIFE, am I right? Bad jokes aside, the paintings themselves were acted upon as a prison of sorts, brought on by the mysteriously cautious Father Mendale (Robert Donavan in an excellent role)  - only he and the artist responsible for this devilish work truly know their destructive power. Dorian Wilde is the virtuoso to blame, and a possible deal with the devil himself just might be the cause for all this, and  it really doesn't take much time before the depictions have a chance to "breathe" before the body count begins to climb, which all adds up to quite the mess to be cleaned up.

  Kanefsky and Mahal take a bit of a more serious route with this film as opposed to the balls-off-the-wall Party Bus a couple of years back, and it works rather nicely considering how f'n crazy that movie was. It's the swinging of the pendulum of progression and the ebb and flows from unharnessed to slightly restrained measures of filmmaking between movies - that's the kind of stuff that a creative directorial/producer combination can accomplish with ease - well done, gentlemen. Strong performances abound here with Tara Reid as an art dealer with sales to be made, the always interesting Richard Grieco as a purveyor of one of the works, and the beautiful Sarah French as a lady of the night, looking to make some green (always stunning on-screen, no matter the role). All in all from the leads to the support, all facets of acting in this one were solid and cogent to the story - there's a bevy of emotions ranging from all involved, and I enjoyed every sinful (and humorous) moment.

 With Kanefsky and Mahal's strong style and bolstered by glorious violence and a smidge of assistance from the dark masters themselves, Art Of The Dead is one of those films that you won't have to sell your soul to check out. It's available on DVD and On-Demand services right now, so make sure to give it a look...but not too fixed of a stare - bad things can happen when you focus on these objects for an extended period of time.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

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