A quote used on the DVD cover for Burke and Hare. Unfortunately, none of the talent were using it, maybe in fear of it running out. For Simon Pegg, I sadly think that time has passed (as a big Spaced fan this is very sad, but I saw Hot Fuzz, twice). I notice Nick Frost wasn’t in this, maybe he thought it beneath him, and took a lead from David Tennant, who supposedly pulled out of a title role.
To be honest, I should have walked away the moment Ronnie Corbett walked on screen.
Part of the trouble with this is that it was billed as dark comedy and the set guys did a great job on creating an atmospheric setting. It looked like dark comedy, It was billed as a dark comedy. When Simon Pegg interviewed about it, he called it a dark comedy. It was not a dark comedy. Pegg and Serkis play the lead roles as blundering idiots. There is nothing sinister or clever about them to make this work as a dark comedy. Their motives are mere opportunism and need of money. For this to work they need to be likeable, which they are not. Pegg’s character does it for a girl. Trying to insert a romantic comedy plot into this diverted a lot away from the actual story, and meant that Burke and Hare did very little actual body finding/acquiring. I think Simon Pegg just fancied Isla Fisher.
If it was a dark comedy, why did one of the militia feel the need to fall over in every scene in a comedy manner? The one that wasn’t Corbett or Reece Shearsmith. In a grave, fainting at any given opportunity, just generally throwing himself on the floor when he had nothing to say. Everytime he was on screen. From what I can tell, the Hammer Horror version was less cheesy. The best think you can do with this film is play a drinking game with “spot the cameo”. Bill Bailey, Christopher Lee, Stephen Merchant, Reece Shearsmith, Paul Whitehouse and Michael Winner to name a few.
As with all of Simon Pegg’s recent movies, I go into them with hope, but end up simply bored. I really hope “Paul” is better, but I may end up giving it a miss to preserve the memory of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead.
1 Stolen Cadaver out of 5.