The directorial debut of duo Bob Hardison and Rich Robinson was quite an unexpected surprise. Marcus is the somewhat dark and on a knife-edge tale of Roger who returns home at Christmas to try and conciliate with his sister Brooke. When Brookes apparent new boyfriend shows up in an extremely unaccommodating mood things take a terrifying turn and this silent night becomes somewhat strange and frightening.
Marcus gives new meaning to the phrase strained relations. There is an unflinching level of tension and edginess between all the characters. In fact maybe a lot of it is a little too harsh, there are some great performances all round here but the title character played by Ross Kurt maybe too overbearing for some viewers to take seriously at all. It is true the character requires a certain level of deranged and somewhat dark tendencies but it's obviously quite difficult to decipher whether this is by directorial influence or by performance alone.
Marcus himself remains an extremely emotionless and dislikable character but then each and every character, as we explore, all resemble the kind of people who all have significantly backward relationships, ultimately clouded histories and disturbing skeletons in so-called closets.
On a downsized budget and limited use of location and sets Marcus has managed to find and successfully build an atmosphere. It’s an atmosphere with an increased sense of foreboding and claustrophobia. It holds this extremely well until the whole pot crescendos into twists and turns, pain and anger. All wonderfully accompanied by a chorus of Carol of the Bells.
With a number of engaging scenes such as the dinner table scene just leaves you shifting uncomfortably in your seat. It’s edgy and interesting, simple but effective. And you thought you hated family gatherings at Christmas time. Marcus oozes uneasiness. It never lets off until the end credits roll.