I love board games, even if some of the extra-complex tabletop ones are way beyond my gaming knowledge. Oxford Film Festival narrative selection Murder Bury Win had my attention immediately just based on the hook alone: a trio of board game lovers who failed at crowdfunding their big project get roped in by a world-famous game creator with the opportunity of a lifetime. An accidental death throws the three friends into an impossible situation, one which embodies the very themes of the board game they created: Murder Bury Win. Expecting outlandish antics, a series of misadventures, or shocking surprises to pair with the brilliance of the premise would be a mismanagement, so manage your expectations accordingly.
There are times when this film is very fun, playing up the gaming element, particularly during the first act. The deeper we get into the narrative, it becomes clear there isn’t much of one. The death is a hilarious exclamation mark, and afterward Murder Bury Win fails to follow it up or add further layers. It’s frustrating as a viewer to feel this movie right on the cusp of greatness, only to devolve into aimlessness. I didn’t expect Jumanji, but something along the lines of Game Night seemed within the realm of possibility. Game Night in particular is an apt comparison, with similarities in setup. The vast difference is that Game Night gets crazier and grander with every twist; Murder Bury Win never expands beyond its intriguing concept. It ends exactly how you would expect. What you see is what you get, for better or worse. Murder Bury Win comes On Demand on April 27th, from Gravitas Ventures.