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If you appreciate karmic retribution, consider “For Sale” — a smartly woven tale of a shady salesman tasked with selling a haunted house.

For Sale

For Sale just landed (May 7, 2024) on digital. Read on to find out if you should rent, stream, or skip it. 

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Mason is a seller without morals. He could sell sand to people who live in the desert or the Brooklyn Bridge to a tourist. Unfortunately, his ethically questionable antics catch up with him in For Sale.

Fired from his job following another suspect sale (scrap-worthy people carriers for the disabled), his life starts to crumble in front of his eyes as he forgets and then tries to lie out of another missed anniversary. His long-suffering partner throws him out, setting the scene for what is to follow. He suddenly finds his knack for being able to talk his way out of any situation doesn’t help when no one wants to speak with him.

Increasingly desperate, he stumbles upon a prospective job with a realtor who promises him a hefty reward if he can sell a particular house. By now, you will have established that this isn’t a normal house. It’s a house with a history. An infamous house where those who inhabit it end up dead. Can Mason sell his way out of this?

For Sale, directed by Christopher Schrack and jointly produced with Andrew Roth (the repellent Mason), is one of those films where the minimalist crew and cast have put together an effective chiller, which is not wholly original but manages to do a lot with what it has to play with.

Andrew plays Mason so well, managing to sell (no pun) the attitude that he will sell anything to anyone at any time and consequences be dammed.

Mason is a delight, pulling every trick in the book to prepare the house for viewers.

His first appointment is a masterclass in just making lies up on the spot as he reacts to questions and sets about answering each one with more incredible statements.

Of course, the house has other ideas. It sabotages his efforts at every turn, seeming to enjoy putting Mason through the wringer and toying with him.

Soon, we get confirmation that the house is indeed haunted — probably due to all those murders.

A Second appointment with two of the weirdest acting people gives insight into how the house turns people insane, which is all the more believable as the wife discloses her fantasy about killing her husband before he hurts her.

Mason only wants to sell the house at any cost. But when the woman turns around to reveal a knife stuck in the back of her head, he realizes he may be in over his head. The way this scene is presented so matter-of-factly adds to its chilling effectiveness.

The first half is devoted to establishing Mason, the house, its history, and some inhabitants. The way they are dealt with onscreen is good. Fleeting shots or cutaways result in some potent moments, as mentioned above.

Once Claire (played by Corinne Britti) joins the fray, the film enters its second phase, and there is a subtle change in approach.

The story takes on a darker hue as Claire identifies the people trapped in the house and fills in some of their backstories.

The addition of Claire also gives Mason someone to bounce off; she is suitably odd, as you might expect, being a medium, and their moments together are well-written.

An opportunity to finally rid himself of the cursed house signals a possible end to all his troubles. But, of course, it’s a horror film, and nothing is ever that simple.

Fair warning: this is a slow burn that can sometimes lag. However, Andrew’s performance keeps it ticking along and keeps you engaged enough to see how this will play out.

He’s aided by an excellent supporting cast that makes the most of their onscreen time. Alison (Rachael Lubarsky), the long-suffering ex-girlfriend, is especially compelling. Lubarsky plays her with the weary air of someone who has realized she fell for the world’s greatest swindler. The pain she feels at that revelation is almost tangible.

Every aspect of For Sale is treated with great care and craftsmanship.

The story unfolds beautifully, and it doesn’t feel like they tried to rush the final act; instead, it’s a satisfying ending with a reckoning and retribution that feels earned. 

RENT IT, STREAM IT, OR SKIP IT?
RENT IT. For Sale is a worthwhile watch. The cast is small but highly capable. The filmmakers also do a masterful job defying their budget and hiding any limitations, ensuring this never feels like a low-budget outing. Clearly, much love and care went into crafting this compelling tale, and it pays off with an engaging watch.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3.5

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