Joan and Michael invite their dearest friends over for a cordial dinner to discuss the passing of Joan’s husband, Neil. As each guest arrives, dark secrets are revealed and the main course will be murder.
Although ‘Murder Made Easy’, is set in present day Los Angeles, the cinematography of the film pays homage to classic mysteries from the very start. The opening credits even display a Roman numeral copyright reminiscent of the old ‘Columbo’ episodes and other programs and movies from the 1960’s and 70’s. Vinyl records have made a comeback in recent years and the first shot of the turntable is that much more appropriate as Michael sets up the dinner music for the evening.
The story is well-crafted with some unique intermission breaks, featuring on-screen menus for each course. The dinner party premise pays tribute to Agatha Christie and the Alfred Hitchcock style plot not only holds attention but continues to build interest throughout.
The performances from the cast are exceptional. ‘Murder Made Easy’ has a theatrical atmosphere that showcases the actors; providing the feel of sitting in the front row of a play captured on film. There are two standout performances. Christopher Soren Kelly steals the show as the smarmy and sarcastic Michael and Emilla Richeson is remarkably convincing as Cricket, a new-wave and moderately annoying California hippie chick.
The film takes advantage of a solid script with some dark humor to lighten up the content. It works very well.
‘Murder Made Easy’ is smart and clever. Accept an invitation to this dinner party and be sure to stay through dessert.
Appropriate gore 8
Production Value 8
Final Cut Score: 44=88%
Murder Made Easy is currently screening at various festivals and scheduled for official release in Spring 2018. This article will be updated when platforms are announced. –Rick Bryan