Indie Feature: Murder Syndicate (2023)

Plot: When the matriarch of a family of assassins falls ill, her three children and younger boyfriend fight among themselves to take over her empire.

Filmmaker Michael Matteo Rossi returns with the crime drama Murder Syndicate which is a story about family loyalty, ambition, betrayal and power plays.

The cast includes Vernon Wells (Commando) as Roddy, Steven Martini as Zane, Mark Justice as Cain, Timothy Haug as Jonah, Jessica Morris as Becca and Diane Robin as Isa, the matriarch of the family and head of the group of assassins. The film starts off with the team going on a job but in the middle of a hit Isa takes a turn and has to be carried out by her boys.

When she recovers Isa decides it’s time for the group to take a break but some family members start to get restless and not everyone wants to sit around and wait for her to decide who will take over from her.

What ensues is a power struggle as each family member has their own ambitions… but who is the real villain?

Murder Syndicate is more of a thriller than an action movie as there are only a couple of shoot-outs and the low budget is apparent. This is more of a character piece and the performances are solid with Timothy Haug a standout as Jonah but I also liked Steven Martini as the untrustworthy Zane. Cain is the hothead son who has no time for Zane and isn’t afraid to show it while Becca tries to be the voice of reason. Jonah is also a bit of a hothead but he does want to do what’s right for the family; he is however, easily led especially by Zane who he sees as a potential father figure.

The film is a little too talky at times with scenes going on longer than they need to and they could have been cut down for pacing reasons; it’s certainly never boring and the cast all do their best with Vernon Wells shining in a small but pivotal role. Once again YouTube Tyrone Magnus shows up as one of the villains Mickey. I think I’ve said this before but he has too humorous a face to really take seriously as a villain and you can’t help but like him even when he’s meant to be bad. He just looks like he’s having a good time and is one of the film’s highlights.

One of my other favourite aspects of the film is the music score which has hints of John Carpenter especially during the opening sequence.

Overall, Murder Syndicate doesn’t have much in the way of action (mostly due to budget restrictions) but it’s an entertaining character study about a family in turmoil with solid performances from the entire cast and a satisfying finale.I’d love to see what Rossi could do with a decent budget as he is a genuinely talented filmmaker that is clearly going places.