Calliope Writing

Graffiti Magazine Volume 2 Issue 9
November 3, 2009, 8:42 pm
Filed under: My Magazine Articles | Tags: , , ,

Graffiti - Marcus1.jpg
Carolina Natives Direct Christmas Thriller

Bob Hardison of Mount Pleasant and Rich Robinson of Winston-Salem made their screenwriting and directorial debuts with Marcus, the winner of two film festival awards.  The film was released on Warner Brothers Home Video March 6th.  Marcus is, in short, a psychological thriller set during Christmastime.  The movie follows a group of people to Brooke’s (Frankie Ingrassia) home for Christmas dinner.  But Brooke is nowhere to be found.  And then this creepy cat Marcus (Ross Kurt) shows up claiming to be Brooke’s boyfriend, and the fun really begins.

The “movie [is] full of unlikable people,” co-director Hardison says.  The truth couldn’t be put more bluntly.  Gwen (Jade Dornfeld) is a bitch, Roger (Marc Rose) is an asshole, Charles (Scoot McNairy) is a weasel.  The movie is slow-moving, but there is a reason behind its pace.  The audience is allowed to get to know the characters one by one.  Each audience member has an emotional stake in the movie because he inexplicably relates to one of the flawed, screwed up characters.

Then, of course is Marcus himself.  Marcus is a disturbed, psychotic serial killer who enjoys kidnapping women and toying with them.  He forces revealing, painful secrets out of his victims and records the resulting conversation.  Ultimately, he kills them.  Kurt does a fantastic job portraying this nutjob.  He is a scary mofo.  Poor Brooke.  Ingrassia’s depiction of Brooke is alarmingly realistic.  She is terrified, and the emotions show in her eyes, making the audience just as scared of Marcus and what he is capable of.

The tension from the start of the film is created by each and every character.  By the end, there is an explosion, and it is revealed that Marcus isn’t the only character with a hidden secret or dark past.  The music (composed by George Shaw) and the dim lighting help to create a subdued, dark, and ultimately sad mood throughout the film, creating even more shock when confessions are made.

I wouldn’t dare ruin the end of the movie for you, so all I can do is encourage you to purchase the DVD yourself and watch the hell out of it.  It’s almost like getting two movies in one:  the horror film Marcus and the comedy Marcus.  That’s right.  The “comedy” version of Marcus features commentary with both directors, the special f/x artist, and other crew.  Listening to Hardison and Robinson bicker back and forth like seventh graders is worth the money I paid for the DVD.  I thoroughly enjoyed the debate about which beverage Marcus is more likely to drink:  Yoohoo or tonic water.  This debate was doubly funny because Robinson insisted on pronouncing “yoohoo” as “yahoo.”  I was laughing my ass off through the entire thing, especially when Robinson proclaimed “Let’s have a drink!” after revealing the meager budget on which the film was shot.  I’m pretty sure he was speaking literally, not figuratively.

Other special features on the DVD include a documentary and interviews with the cast and crew.  But the film is, of course, the highlight and the best part of the DVD.  I certainly walked away from Marcus wishing it were light outside and that I didn’t have to try to go to sleep right away.  And I’m confident it will make you shit your pants as well . . . or at least get creeped out.

Marcus can be purchased through Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Amazon, and MovieScore Media.

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