JAMIE MARKS IS DEAD [London Film Festival]

PrintE-mail Written by Peter Turner


MOVIE REVIEW: JAMIE MARKS IS DEAD / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: CARTER SMITH / SCREENPLAY: CARTER SMITH / STARRING: LIV TYLER, JUDY GREER, CAMERON MONAGHAN, MORGAN SAYLOR / RELEASE DATE: TBC

When bullied outcast Jamie Marks is discovered naked and lifeless next to a local river, high school jock Adam finds himself strangely drawn to the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. Adam begins a relationship with Gracie, a loner girl who collects rocks and who discovered the body of social pariah Jamie. Boding over their sudden shared connection to Jamie, Adam and Gracie’s wintry small town gets even more chilly as they start seeing the spectre of the dead boy. At first he is outside a window, but soon Adam is conversing the with the ghost in his wardrobe and finding out how he can help the deceased teen in order to give him some peace.

Jamie Marks is the kind of kid who no one wanted to speak to at school, and even after his death, no one wants to speak about him. Ignored or bullied, he appears to Adam and Gracie as a near nude Harry Potter lookalike, reaching out from the afterlife in a desperate bid to be noticed.

Adapted from the novel One for Sorrow, director Carter Smith’s follow up to grisly Mexican set horror The Ruins is part coming of age tale and part ghost story. With its sombre score and eerie atmosphere, Jamie Marks is Dead straddles genres, sitting often uncomfortably between teen drama and something more unconventional. Like its confused protagonist, the film is torn between two worlds; Adam between the worlds of the living and the dead and the film itself between dealing with down to earth issues and exploring the afterlife.

As Adam is drawn further and further into Jamie’s world, he becomes more distanced from Gracie, his peers and his family. With Gracie coming on strong in her icy blue bedroom, Adam retreats (literally) into the closet with Jamie, exploring the isolation and identities of those like Jamie, whose lives ended in tragedy. Jamie Marks is Dead then becomes an occasionally chilling and inevitably touching tale of friendship, loneliness and love.

With its wintry landscapes, morbid, moody teens and run down locales, the supernatural never overwhelms the elegiac mood. Fans of TV’s Homeland may find Morgan Saylor a highly unwelcome presence as she still hasn’t quite managed to reign in her tendency to overdo her emoting. The subplot involving Liv Tyler as Adam’s recently paralysed mother is stagnant from the start while Jamie Marks the ghost is too communicative, and far too present to be either spooky or particularly gripping.

Jamie Marks is Dead is a work of melancholy originality; resorting to some familiar horror beats but ultimately exploring identity, isolation and loss in a hauntingly downbeat and mostly understated way.

Expected Rating: 6 out of 10

Actual Rating:


Suggested Articles:
Volumes of Blood impressed a lot of genre-loving folks in 2015 with a low-budget underdog approach t
Dawn Of The Deaf is an engaging, horrifying, mystifying and, due to its brief length, tantalising ta
Ordinarily, explaining the concept of a short would be bad form to even consider, but Rites of Venge
With For a Good Time, Call… horror short heroine Izzy Lee (whose gender-flipped Lovecraft tale Inn
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Movie Reviews

VOLUMES OF BLOOD: HORROR STORIES 16 August 2017

DAWN OF THE DEAF [SHORT FILM] 16 August 2017

RITES OF VENGEANCE [SHORT FILM] 16 August 2017

FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL…[SHORT FILM] 16 August 2017

A GHOST STORY 15 August 2017

THE DOMICILE 14 August 2017

ALIEN: REIGN OF MAN 07 August 2017

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS 06 August 2017

THE EMOJI MOVIE 06 August 2017

ANNABELLE: CREATION 04 August 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner