August 25, 2012 (VOD)
Gabriel Diani as Richard Scarry
Janet Varney as Mary Best
Jonathan Klein as Dave Ross
Etta Devine as Ginger Sparks
Nancy Lenehan as Mom/Mrs. Scarry
The Selling is horror comedy, done in a way that is not nearly as goofy as most offerings in this space. What if that house you bought with big plans of flipping it for a profit turns out to be haunted?
Richard Scarry (Gabriel Diani) is a real estate agent, and not a very good one. His problem, according to his mother (Nancy Lenehan) is that he is too nice… too honest. Still, he is a dutiful son and needs to make some money so his mother can get a needed operation, so he sets off on a plan to buy a house, fix it up and flip it for a profit, with the help of his friend and business partner Dave (Jonathan Klein). They purchase a house represented by someone else in their real estate office, Mary (Janet Varney) and although they know that Mary is completely without honor or morals and will lie to anyone for a buck, the house seems to have potential and they dive right in. Almost immediately, the house informs them that they should “get out” and proceeds to bleed from its walls. The house is severely haunted.
After getting pretty freaked out and fleeing the property without losing their lives, the realization hits them that Mom is likely going to die if she doesn’t have her procedure done soon, and the only way to pay for it is to flip this house.
The Selling has a great concept and is very well written and acted. Considering the fact that the writer Gabriel Diani is also the star, this is a bit surprising. So many independent horror films that star the writer and/or director do not turn out well and ultimately resemble little more than an ego piece for that person who seems to have created the picture as a vehicle for their own promotion. It is extremely frustrating to come across a well-written script that misses the mark entirely because that writer couldn’t see the fact that their acting and directing skills are woefully insufficient. That is not the case here as Diani does a tremendous job as the hapless Richard Scarry trying to unload a deadly haunted house. It is very good that Diani didn’t decide to also direct the film himself, because it is often a huge disaster for the star to also be the director – if you, as the star, are playing a role all wrong and looking ridiculous, who is there to tell you so and change your direction? – If you are the star and the director, then nobody… and that’s the problem. Kudos to Diani for not falling into this trap.
As a general rule I am not a fan of horror comedy, except in rare instances when the films are exceptional i.e. Shawn of the Dead. The Selling is another exception as the film is very well done as well as very funny, and calls upon most of the haunted house stereotypes available. Whenever horror freaks watch a ghost story, or any horror movie for that matter, we regularly think through what we would do in a similar situation. If the house says, “get out”, then we get out, right? But… what if you just couldn’t simply “get out” and had to go to a plan B? That would be The Selling – the plan B that just has to work, one way or another.
Why Richard Scarry thought it wise to have an open house is another story. I think I’d have tried to sell the thing on eBay.