The Selling (2011)

The Selling (2011)
6.0
  • 974
  • Not Rated
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release year: 2011 ()
  • Running time: 92 min
  • Original Title: The Selling
  • Voted: 974

A too-honest-for-his-own-good real estate agent has to sell a haunted house before its ghostly inhabitants ruin his life.

#PersonCharacters
1Gabriel DianiRichard Scarry
2Janet VarneyMary Best
3Jonathan KleinDave Ross
4Etta DevineGinger Sparks
  • Almost as Scarry as the actual real estate market by 10

    The Selling is a great example of the Little Movie That Could. With a small budget, a first-time director, and a cast of mostly unknowns; it COULD have been a disaster. Most films with these conditions end up with bad acting, predictable dialogue, and aren't over soon enough. But The Selling avoids all of these pitfalls and just chugs right along, and ends up being a delightful, entertaining movie with heart (complete with pumping blood) and just enough laughs to keep older kids and adults alike entertained throughout.

    Written by and starring Gabe Diani, the movie is filled almost equally with suspense and horror as much as it is slapstick humor and dialogue that would make Abbott and Costello proud. First time director Emily Lou keeps the pace going and makes it seem like this under-exposed cast has been working together for years.

    Told without a swear word, this is a GREAT movie for families, although it may be unsuitable for the wee ones due to the blood & scary scenes as well as a quick drug references.

    Over all, I gave this movie an 9 out of 10. Not bad at all for some first-time film makers, and I have the feeling its only going to get better from here.

  • The kind of film Hollywood should strive for by 9

    It's hard to decide what genre The Selling falls into- there are elements of comedy, horror, sci-fi, and drama... but by the time the opening credits have finished, you know you are in for a great ride.

    With humble nods to films such as The Amityville Horror, The Shining, and Poltergeist, there are very real moments of suspense and tension. Yet given the comedic roots of the cast and crew, it's no surprise that the audience burst into laughter throughout the film. A healthy mix of improbable situations, physical gags, and one-liners keep the film feeling snappy and smart. Personally, I found the "Sizzler" bit and actor Cole Stratton's exhaustive America's Next Top Model monologue (which was entirely improvised, taking full advantage of Stratton's talent and improv background) to be among the funniest scenes.

    Simply put, the cast is superb. Writer/actor Gabe Diani handles the complex and nuanced role of Richard with ease. He reminds me of a young Tom Hanks: charming, intensely likable, slightly awkward but full of promise. Janet Varney is perfect as the beautiful but ethically flexible real estate agent Mary- a character you can never quite decide if you love or hate. Jonathan Klein provides comic relief without ever resorting to stupidity as Dave, and Etta Devine gives Ginger the quirkiness and heart that drive her motivations. Richard's mother, played by Nancy Lenehan, is part June Cleaver and part Betty White, wrapped up in a mom that we all recognize as our own. As a last ditch effort to de-spook the house, we are treated to Barry Bostwick in the role of priest a la The Exorcist. This cameo appearance is not put to waste, as Bostwick absolutely rules the screen.

    The script is original, fresh, and clever. Diani takes the concept of a realtor burdened with a haunted house and guides the story in a way that feels honest and natural. Emily Lou's direction makes a relatively low budget 2-week shoot feel like a full blown studio production. Everything about The Selling is polished to a shine. The occasional use of cheesy special effects is greatly outweighed by the times it's done right. Even the poster looks like it belongs in a megaplex among the latest from Spielberg and Scorsese.

    If you get the (rare, sadly) opportunity to see this film, do yourself a favor and go. It's even appropriate for the 12+ crowd; the lack of cursing and sparse gore keep it friendly without ever feeling "toned down." With any luck, someone from a financial powerhouse of a film studio will find this movie and snatch up the creators to make another gem. Until then, I'll wish them the best in "selling it" however they can.

  • An absolute GEM! by 10

    I saw this film with my husband at the Fright Night Film Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. After seeing the trailer, I thought we would be in for a cute/silly indie horror-comedy flick. I was not prepared for The Selling to be one of the funniest comedy feature films that I have seen in many years. This film is chock full of hilarious lines (that we found ourselves quoting the entire drive back to Florida)and comedic situations that had us roaring with laughter. Seeing Barry Bostwick as the priest attempting to exercise the house of its spirits was the cherry on top of this great film.

    To put it simply, this film is a must-see. I am a filmmaker myself (my film, Loverboy, played in the same festival where I saw this) and I felt it an honor to play in the same festival as the Selling. I hope a major company picks this film up for distribution. I know if they do it will be a massive hit.

    Great job to the cast and crew. 10 out of 10. Without a doubt!

  • A Nutshell Review: The Selling by 8

    Ask anyone if real estate agents have ethics, and you're bound to get a fair share of horror stories about those who don't, for the sake of sales revenue and to line their own pockets with fat commissions, who can sell just about any property by glossing over pertinent details and avoiding taboo ones so that some sucker out there would lay down some hard earned capital. For Richard Scarry (Gabriel Diani), he's a down to earth, all round nice guy who just couldn't lie, and finds himself in a fix when he and his business partner Dave Ross (Jonathan Klein) got duped by a rival agent Mary (Janet Verney) in getting a haunted house (along Elm Street no less) on their portfolio, only to find that getting rid of it isn't exactly a walk in the park.

    Gabriel Diani, who also wrote the story, had crafted a fine, independent film that's essentially a horror-comedy treatment sorely missed these days, where its intend to scare is light, and balanced with a good dose of comedy and wit as it pays homage to a number of horror classics that genre fans will not fail to identify. What's more, there's a fair bit of narrative going on with a piece of mystery woven in, since it involves no less than 12 ghosts, where their unfinished business gets in the way of our real estate agents who try their best to auction the house, only to have their efforts thwarted since nobody in the right frame of mind will want to get something alive like Hausu.

    If I can draw some parallels, it's story-telling is along the same vein as Ghostbusters as well as The Frighteners, with the ghouls are none too threatening, and despite it being modestly budgeted, have enough special effects magic in it to juice the film up, while not forsaking what's primarily essential in any film, a solid storyline. It's almost like a tale of two halves, where we get to see indirect references to recent housing woes in the USA and the comedic bantering between man and spirit as Richard and Dave try to find a compromise with the inherent occupants of the property, and montages used as set pieces for comedy when all things are light and dandy. The later half though progressively got a bit more sinister with intent and objectives being revealed, though again fit for young ones as events were kept deliberately light for broad based appeal.

    What worked in its favour is the strength of the characters that Diani created, although some may argue that they're pretty much one-dimensional, such as Dave as the partner whose nature and mannerisms never fail to become punchlines, or how Mary as their nemesis they love to hate remains pretty much consistent throughout, each character has enough quirks to make them uniquely appealing. Gabriel Diani himself probably plays the most complex amongst all since he's the leading man undergoing profound experiences, while real life partner Etta Devine stars as the ghostly expert/blogger who lends a helping hand. Nancy Lenehan plays Richard's cancer-suffering mom who still has a degree of spunk for life and attitude, and the banter between mother and son as mentioned by Diani during the Q&A, is based very much with his own late mother.

    The Selling scores in it not trying too hard, and has many endearing elements that demands a second viewing. I know it's still early in the festival, but this will probably end up as one of the most entertaining that packs a solid narrative punch despite its compact 90 minutes. Highly recommended so make sure you do get to watch it if you can as it does its festival rounds. Stay tuned throughout the end credits as well for a number of comedic stingers.

  • Just what I was looking for by 10

    This movie was just what I was looking for. I'm so glad I decided to give it a chance after reading some of the not so good reviews. Those who didn't like it must not have any sense of humor or fun and take themselves and movies way too seriously. There seems to be a dearth of either classic or decent family Halloween type movies this year on either Netflix or Amazon, or new movies that aren't just slasher or over-the-top creepy. I wanted something not too heavy on the horror or adult situations and not too light on substance for our family (2 adults and 2 teens) to watch. We laughed all the way through this one, and there were mild scares and some unexpected twists as well. It's like an homage to all the classic scary movies but with added humor and a fresh new plot. I could guess what was going to happen next in a lot of places which was ok, but there were enough twists to surprise us and make it entertaining and funny. I think this is a new family favorite! I'd better buy a copy in case we can't find it on streaming platforms next year when we want to see it again. Make sure to watch it through the credits, too.

#PersonCrew
1Matthias Schubertcinematographer
2Geoff Manncomposer
3Emily Lou Wilburdirector
4James Coblentzeditor
5Chad Meserveeditor
6Kathrin Ederproduction_designer