For many filmmakers – especially the ones in the independent scene – their first feature film can be a learning experience used to sharpen their crafts. Not only is Actor/Writer/Director Sean Murray’s (Track 31 2019) debut, Interment, a building block, but it also showcases his love and passion for the horror genre.
Opening with a thoughtful yet bleak conversation between Scott (Lou DeVito: A Line Between All Things 2018) and his girlfriend, Chelsey (Jennifer Nolan: Vamp Bikers Tres 2016), Interment wastes no time tackling the subject matter of life, death, Heaven and Hell, paired with an eerie score that captures the morbid darkness that unfolds. Cutting to an unspecified time jump, we see the couple having a much different conversation full of anger, distrust and resentment in the wake of infidelity and their shattered relationship. Living up to the meaning behind its title – interment is the burial of a corpse – the film takes a dark left turn as Scott stabs Chelsey to death. After taking her last breath, Chelsey finds herself in an afterlife that is much different from what she envisioned.
As a rookie to the screen, DeVito gives a notable performance as someone who feels betrayed, allowing raw emotion to take over. However, depth and a character arc seem to be lacking as the plot thickens with each crime committed by Scott. Showing the character become more and more emotionless as he descends into insanity could have added another level of substance to Murray’s crime horror debut.
Hot on Scott’s trail of blood is Detective Charlie Osmond (Bill Marsh: Track 31 2019). As this officer of the law closes in on Scott, his corrupt nature may lead to more deadly plans for the scorned young man than just simply putting him behind bars. Marsh gives a commendable performance. However, much like the character of Scott, Detective Osmond does not carry much depth. Although a few more simple actions could have highlighted the character’s corruption, adding substance to the film’s plot, the glimpse into Osmond’s home life and neglected wife gives a nice layer of backstory.
Driving the intrigue behind Interment is the grim, gritty and solemn afterlife Murray paints as a sort of limbo. Raising the bar for the cast is Nolan as she brings to life the heated argument leading up to her character’s death. As Chelsey awakens in an afterlife full of confusion and a desire to move onto something better, she meets The Man in Black (Director Sean Murray).
In a nod to classic genre films, Murray steals the screen as The Man in Black, giving a throwback of reminiscent of the Tall Man famously portrayed by Angus Scrimm in the ’70s cult hit, Phantasm (read our retro review here). Dark and mysterious, this malevolent being demands payment from Chelsey as she becomes a dark angel plaguing Scott’s conscience.
Although Interment could have benefited greatly from more detailed plot development and stronger character arcs, Murray’s feature debut retains original ideas of the macabre that don’t go unnoticed. With a haunting score, practical special effects put to great use, and the portrayal of madness in this life and the next, shows potential for a promising future for this filmmaker.