Tuesday, February 2, 2021


Another spooky one, available today on Prime:

The Funeral Home (La Funeraria)--This Argentine chiller takes place entirely in and around the cheerless title establishment. It unfolds through long tracking shots that prowl the rooms and grounds to the accompaniment of screeching, groaning music, and I can't deny that it worked my nerves and creeped me out.

But the movie is more than cheap scares. It's a well-constructed, very well acted supernatural analogy for how a family can carry on in a home despite the presence of extreme dysfunction. Bernardo (Luis Machin), the funeral director, lives in the back of the home with his wife Estela (Celeste Gerez) and her teenage daughter Irina (Camila Vaccarini) from an earlier, abusive marriage. There's plenty of domestic tension in the house anyway, but it's compounded by the fact that the family is well aware of the ghostly, even demonic presences in the house, and the adults have chosen to simply tolerate them. Irina isn't OK with this, understandably; she wants to move in with the abusive father's mother. Just as understandably, Estela isn't OK with this.

The acting is top-notch. Better yet, though the tale has a psychological subtext, writer-director Mauro Ivan Ojeda keeps the film fun-scary instead of depressing-scary by playing rigorously by the hokey rules of the ghost story; Ojeda even manages a touching flourish in the final minutes with lapsing into sentimentality, or losing the sinister atmosphere. This movie is literal-minded in the best way.

No comments:

Post a Comment