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One of my favorite board games to play is Milton Bradley's classic - the cerebral - Clue. Attempting to figure out the particulars of who, what, and where before everyone else, through the use of deductive reasoning and the process of elimination, is quite exhilarating; it makes murder, fun! That's more or less what we have here with Dave Palamaro's playful murder-mystery, Murder Made Easy; the cinematic embodiment of Clue's controlled, perilous spirit.

Joan and Michael invite their dearest friends over for a cordial dinner to discuss the passing of Joan's husband Neil. But as each guest arrives, dark secrets are revealed and the main course turns out to be murder!

Much like the aforementioned board game, a lot of what gives Murder Made Easy its charm are the colorful personalities involved in the sordid affair. While Professor Plum and Miss Scarlet don't necessarily make an appearance, you still get some close approximations and enough variety to simulate the dynamic they would bring. From the overly pretentious intellectual - Marcus, to the very particular hippie caricature Cricket and all the others in-between (each introduced with an appropriately titled - title card-like - dinner menu), you're given enough in the way of characters and characterization to surmise any possible motives and of course, the film's ultimate conclusion. It's a twisty curvy kind of ride there, and with the strong - yet hammy - performances delivered by all the players of this dangerous mystery-game, you'll be kept engaged all throughout. 

The similarities to Clue don't end there. I feel confident in saying that, just like the board game, you're probably going to - very wrongly - guess its ending. Ha! But that's definitely part of the fun, and as such, I highly recommend watching Palamaro's little exercise in deviousness with a group of friends; preferably those that you trust. Murder Made Easy is an Agatha Christie inspired thriller that'll make for one of the more fun times you've had with the genre all year.



I loved the premise and I thought the story was fantastic, but I sometimes felt that the acting was a bit too "try-hard", at times. Jessica Graham, who played the main character Joan, was definitely the most consistent in the film, but everyone else felt like they tended to go a little overboard. The cinematography was great, and a lot of the scenes were amazingly shot. What did surprise me was the amazing conclusion to the film; it was original and it really caught me off guard, which isn’t easy to do nowadays. Even though I would’ve liked to see more interesting characters and better execution of the story, I think that it’s still a pretty solid film, and I definitely think that the creators are destined for amazing things. I look forward to seeing more from them in the future!

Check out the trailer above, and be sure to stay tuned to Thirteenth Floor for any news and details regarding future festival showings and home video distribution.