Necrologies is a portmanteau movie which, despite being a 2018 production, has less in common, atmospherically and tonally, with other recent examples of the format (VHS, All Hallow’s Eve) than it does with something like The House That Dripped Blood or even Creepshow. This is mainly due to the wraparound story; a horror blogger is trespassing in a cemetery long after closing, trying to take some scary photos. However, he is accosted by the caretaker, who takes him to his run down old hut and decides what to do with him. As the caretaker ponders whether he should call the police or not, the two tell each other chilling tales of death. These scenes add an overriding sense of dark gothic to proceedings, mixed with a knock around sense of humour, creating a context from which the coming vignettes can subsequently grow.
This atmosphere is created, in no small part, by an enthralling performance from Jean-Claude Dreyfus, who plays the caretaker. One moment Dreyfus is intense with menace, the next he is almost wild eyed slapstick. It’s a performance that treads a fine line between bravura and pure ham, but it makes the film. Dreyfus is a forty year veteran of French film and TV and it’s not hard to imagine him deciding to have some fun with the role.
So short and direct are the vignettes, that it is difficult to describe them without spoiling the whole lot, but suffice to say that the audience are treated to the usual morality tales regarding technology and greed and some fun stories about bizarre creatures and religious cults.
Of the five directors involved, only François Message and Alexis Wawerka have previous directing credits, with one each; documentary about the Lithuanian Gay League, “We Can be Gay Today” (Message) and short “Hot Hell” (Wawerka). Yet all five bring a panache and fast moving pace to each section. Indeed, for a collaborative effort, Necrologies really has to be regarded as a success, with all parties maintaining the standard; all the stories carry the same verve and quality. There are some inventive make-up effects and some well done gore. In the story entitled “Une Affaire d’Enfer,” a grisly tale regarding the comeuppance of an unscrupulous estate agent, who is willing to do anything to force an elderly lady out of her home, scream queen fans will also spot a cameo from horror legend, Linnea Quigley.
So is Necrologies worth your time? Absolutely. As a fun, knock around 75 minutes’ entertainment, you can’t argue with it. And if a group of young (ish) people can take an (estimated) €11,000 budget and create something as accomplished as this, then they deserve, at the very least, that a few people see it.
In order to give what we believe to be a more unbiased constructive criticism of the piece, the members of Bloodhound Pix are tackling each review as a panel of three. None of the members know the others’ thoughts on the content until after they submit their initial response.
Director(s): Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz
Writer(s): Sergio Casci, Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz
Starring: Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone
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