Review: ‘Murder, Anyone?’ – Whodunnit spoof, from the the mind of Gordon Bressack

From director James Cullen Bressack comes the incredibly witty and personal film ‘ Murder, Anyone?’ as he brings to life the words of his late father Gordon Bressack, acclaimed writer better known for his work on animated shows like Pinky and the Brain and Animaniacs. One of seven un-produced Bressack screenplays, it was originally written and put on as a stage play.

Two playwrights, George (Charles M. Howell IV) and Charlie (Maurice LaMarche), are tasked with the challenge of creating the next “avant-garde, surrealistic, mind-bending neo-noire thriller”. As they write, the story comes to life in real time. However, their own emotions and arguments also begin to manifest on film, creating sharp twists and turns that affect the entire movie. Filled with hilarity and chaos, Murder, Anyone? is a comedic play-within-a-play-within-a-movie that contemplates the complexities of language, art, theater, film and more.

Murder, Anyone? is a comic send-up of the classic ‘whodunnit’, taking shots at theatre, Hollywood and writing in equal measure. It is simultaneously a play-within-a-play and a movie-within-a-movie as we see our two writers battling over their new play script (or is it a film…) whilst their actor avatars act out the script in real time as it changes and evolves.

This film adaption is extremely timely as the Whodunnit genre has been reignited with Rian Johnson’s Knives Out and the recent comedy See How They Run. The film makes not-so-thinly veiled references to classic films and stage plays, most notably Deathtrap and The Mousetrap and successfully sends up most tropes of the genre.

This was clearly a passion project and labour of love for the director and cast with everyone bringing their a-game as Bressack honours his late father’s work whilst also putting his own modern spin on the story. Adding another level of meta our two writers are played by Maurice LaMarche (better known as a voice actor on shows including Pinky and the Brain and Animaniacs) and Charles M. Howell IV (Pinky and the Brain and Animaniacs writer) and there is an instant comic charm to this pairing. Likewise their ‘onscreen/onstage’ acting leads are played brilliantly by Kristos Andrews and Galadriel Stineman who get to go full camp and deliver stage-worthy performances with seemingly effortless comic timing.

5/5A smart and funny sendup of the Whodunnit genre and fitting tribute to it’s late writer.


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