Support Us!
$2
$3
$5
Powered by
Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!

SEE THE NEWEST CONTENT BELOW!

SEE THE NEWEST CONTENT BELOW!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

[Review] Shudder’s Anthology Film ‘The Mortuary Collection’ Offers Meta Morality Tales

Despite numerous exceptions to the rule, there’s a certain trepidation around anthology horror films. They’re often constructed by multiple filmmakers working around a centralized theme, but can wind up feeling quite distinct from each other. Other times some stories are simply better than others, leading to a lopsided viewing experience that doesn’t quite gel.

Enter writer/director Ryan Spindell’s The Mortuary Collection, which uses an effective workaround to address these issues with a bit of clever meta-commentary.

The collection is comprised of four “dark and twisted and scary” stories that are told via a wrap-around story as mortuary employee Montgomery “Monty” Dark (Clancy Brown) interviews new hire Sam (Caitlin Fisher). As he shows her around the mortuary’s various floors and spaces, filled with any number of odd and unusual artifacts, Morty entertains Sam with gruesome morality tales about bad people being punished for their sins.

First up is the 50s-set story of Emma (Christine Kilmer), a thief at a party who opens a medicine cabinet that should have been left locked. This is by far the shortest and least memorable of the stories, but it helps to set the tone and establish the visual aesthetic of the film. The intro is firmly drawing on Tales from the Crypt while this segment is period chic with a dash of A Series of Unfortunate Events. In some regards The Mortuary Collection is what last year’s Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark would have been had it adopted a more formal anthology format.

The next story, set in the 60s, is longer and despite still being period-appropriate, is clearly engaging with contemporary sex and gender politics. This second tale follows fraternity playboy Jake (Jacob Elori) who targets shy and bookish Sandra (Ema Horvath) for seduction and – you guessed it – pays the price for his hubris. It also features one of Spindell’s most clever sequences: an extended seven-hour sex marathon condensed into a brief montage, framed by a clock in the foreground with the many sex positions presented slightly out of focus in the background.

The 70s-set third story tells the sad story of Wendell (Barak Hardley) and Carol Owens (Sarah Hay), who are getting married. The tale then jumps ahead to the last days of Carol’s fatal illness. Extremely unhappy and facing bankruptcy, Wendell makes the ill-advised decision to poison his wife. To say that things don’t go exactly as planned is an understatement as electric meat carvers, bloody trunks and a broken elevator all wind up complicating Wendell’s escape.

Following this third entry, however, Sam challenges the storytelling notion that Monty is putting forth, namely the idea that these villains always receive their comeuppance. To prove her point, she launches into her own dark and morbid tale “The Babysitter Murders”, which plays like a subverted take on the traditional urban legend about the babysitter, their young charge and the escaped mental patient (Ben Hethcoat) who appears during the storm. This story, which was Spindell’s original short before it became the anthology’s lynchpin, is The Mortuary Collection’s best directed and most formally innovative narrative sequence.

And therein lies both the strength and the weakness of the film.

Throughout the framing device, whenever Monty wraps up one of his stories, Sam criticizes or undermines their familiarity. She mocks the simplicity and easy resolution of the first story; she initially declares the second has “everything a story should be and more” but then confirms she’s being glib. By the conclusion of the third story, she’s completely dissatisfied, announcing “I kinda hated that story.”

This is ironic because Sam is the audience surrogate, and in these instances, she might as well be speaking for us; she loudly and publicly denounces the familiarity and rottenness of these tales because we’ve seen them all before and we know how they’re going to end. It’s as though Spindell himself is suggesting that they’re not quite up to par, especially in light of what’s to come in the fourth and final story. “The Babysitter Murders” is the embodiment of the fresh and unexpected qualities that Sam – and by extension, the audience – isn’t getting from the others.

This is not to say that there aren’t joys or pleasures to be taken from the others. But there is an undeniable feeling of been there, done that vibe to all of them, particularly the black comedy stinger that resolves each tale.

The outcome of “The Babysitter Murders” feeds into the climax of the film and Monty & Sam’s storytelling showdown. The conclusion offers both a satisfying wrap-up, as well as future installments in the event that audience response is warm enough to merit a return visit to Raven’s End Mortuary.

At its core, The Mortuary Collection is a fun and entertaining anthology. While some narrative beats are too familiar, Spindell’s clever direction, the compelling art and production design and the lead performances by Brown and Fisher make this an easy sell.

Editor’s Note: This Fantasia review was originally published on 

The Mortuary Collection is now streaming on Shudder.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3629201/fantasia-review-anthology-film-the-mortuary-collection-offers-meta-the-morality-collection-stories/

No comments:

Post a Comment


Support Us!
$2
$3
$5
Powered by
Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!



The Top 10 Streaming Scary Movies of Today (According to Netflix)

Given that Netflix really is the master of their own data, how many times a viewer streams The Ridiculous 6, or what films don't get watched all the way straight through, or how many times someone watches an episode of Bill Nye Saves the World, it was easy for them to come up with the list based on just one percentage: 70 percent.

Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!


3 Frightening Clowns Not from the Underworld or Magical Hell


3 Viral Videos Proving Spiders Are Still Scary as Hell


Stephen King Adores These 22 Horror Films


3 Super Stories on 'Halloween' and Horror That'll Make You Want to Wear the Mask

xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#'