“The form may be familiar, but the message is timeless.”
The Mortuary Collection, directed by Ryan Spindell, is a film that played at Toronto After Dark back in 2019 (if you like this review, go check out Andres’ review from the actual festival), but gets its official release on Shudder on October 15th, 2020. Not since Trick R’ Treat (2007) and V/H/S (2012) have we gotten an entertaining, spooky and mildly comedic horror anthology.
It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten a fairly high caliber anthology horror film. The last one for myself may have been 2012’s VHS, or even its sequel, VHS2. But nothing quite hit the mainstream like Trick ‘R Treat slowly did. A film that once played at Toronto After Dark back in 2009. There are a few things that need to hit in order for an anthology (horror) film works well. It’s to my belief that The Mortuary Collection hits all of them.
Fantasy films are some of my favourites but too often they focus on characters that I can’t connect to or even identify with. Too often the characters feel the same and never feel like I could be one of them. It’s not to say that I can’t enjoy fantasy or film of that genre but it’s not the same. That is why Alice Waddington’s Paradise Hills is such a breath of fresh air, a film that creates such a universe that you can forgive the flaws and story problem. In her directorial debut, Waddington creates a universe that feels complete, bringing a breath of fresh air in this genre that is too often dominated by men and their stories.
As I mentioned briefly before, we were told going into the festival that The Furies was going to be the goriest. They also warned us that The Assent is the scariest film of the festival. From what I’ve seen so far, I definitely agree. I didn’t think I would learn a few things about demonic possession during the film.
Movies that deal with the notion of time travel are either a success or a complete miss. Too often the story gets lost in the explanation of how it is possible. Luckily, James vs His Future Self is able to avoid this by playing smart and actually taking the time of making the time travel a device that drives not only the story forward but also the characters that the world is filled with. By mixing different genres, the film becomes more than just a time-travel film, it is able to create a story that might not be new but it has so much heart that it brings something fresh to the table.
When trying to program a horror (or “genre”) based film festival, you want to make sure you hit all the sweet spots that might be needed. One thing is for sure, The Furies definitely strikes “goriest film” off the checklist, and it’s wonderful.
I should’ve known what we were going to watch after the great (and funny) short film that played before our screening of Extra Ordinary. But nothing could have prepared me for the non-stop jokes and the total bunker film that it was. Coming from Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, in their directorial feature debut, Extra Ordinary benefits from an all-star cast that makes the film what it is.