When walking along a video store wall and trying to pick a feature a couple of years ago, I found a movie that made me debate it for weeks. This was a common occurrence at the video store for me. And deep down, part of me knows the films I debate are either going to be cheesy in a guilty pleasure kind of way or cheesy in a bad way making me wish I had the last two hours of my life back. Thankfully, The Selling, also known as The Selling of Scarry Manor, did not fall into the latter category.
The film revolves around real estate Richard Scarry (Gabriel Diani). In order to pay his mother’s hospital bills, Richard purchases what is considered to be a prime property represented by fellow colleague Mary Best (Janet Varney). Soon, Richard discovers that the property is too good to be true considering the house is haunted by not one ghost, but twelve ghosts. In fact, as soon as Richard and his business partner, Dave (Jonathan Klein), enter the house the house informs them to get out. They promptly do of course, but this leaves them with a dilemma. What do they do with the house?
Instead of giving up, the two men decide they must continue in their journey to flip the house. After all, if Scarry’s mother cannot have her procedure then she dies. That’s it. There’s obviously no coming back from death, unless someone wants to haunt that particular house. By moving forward, audiences gain a look at the subtle, and not so subtle, nods at the The Amityville Horror, The Shining, and Poltergeist.
On a quick side note, as a horror fan I’m always personally pleased when writers decide to pay homage to the horror classics of the past. And this film makes me wish more writers paid attention to such details.
Alongside the stellar writing, the acting within the feature is completely on par. In fact, one of the best characters of the feature is supernatural blogger, Ginger Sparks (Etta Devine). The scene in which the character is introduced speaks volumes and by far remains one of my favorite moments throughout the entire film. Her excitement is our excitement because she embodies the evolution of a horror fan. We research. We explore. We go to haunted houses. We love characters we can relate to and Devine does an impeccable job of allowing us to relate to Sparks.
Diani also gives a fantastic performance as Scarry. He never truly gives up and rolls with the repeated punches he is delivered. After all, how does one handle unloading a haunted house? I think most people’s plan B would have been to find a new plan A. Scarry never gives up and his perseverance is one to admire when everything goes wrong. Diani also provides perfect comedic timing that lets us know it is okay to awkwardly laugh at some of his misery.
All things considered, The Selling works because we have all been there. We have gotten to the point where we are laughing while we are crying because there are no other options. There is no quick fix. Sometimes we have to roll with the punches and Scarry manages to show how to do that even if it is in the most unorthodox way viewers have seen.
And remember, if you are one of those people who turn off the movie as soon as the credits being to role make sure to stick around a few extra minutes. There are multiple scenes sprinkled throughout the end, which only add to the feature.
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