Director: André Øvredal
Writers: Ian Goldberg, Richard Naing
Stars: Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch, Ophelia Lovibond
Plot: A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harboring dark secrets.
Running Time: 86 Minutes
IMDB Score: 6.8
Why I Watched It: Strong genre buzz, the trailer looked good and of course Brian Cox.
Random Thoughts: This was one of those word of mouth genre films that gained buzz on the festival circuit then just kind of got dumped on VOD. The great thing about the trailer is you’re not really sure what the film is about but you know it looks like a creepy horror.
What I Liked: This is a great example of a horror film starting slow and just keep building suspense and tension as the film goes along, the film as a nightmare logic feel to it and the great thing is except for one they don’t rely on jump scares but they rely on building tension as the plot gets moved forward. The film has a great atmosphere and it’s creepy as all get out, I’ve watched way too many horror films to get really scared but every once in awhile a film will get under your skin, so I wasn’t scared but it creeped me out I got a very real sense of dread.
There’s a lot to like here but I’m going to point out direction cause this film is very well done, it doesn’t go for camp and it doesn’t rush it’s story, the pacing, the score the way the film is shot all works together everything builds. The story is smart, I love a movie where you see people or a person who are good at their job, Brian Cox plays a guy who’s done this for a long time and has seen just about everything so this body not only is strange but it’s a puzzle he’s trying to solve. Also the cool thing about this film is even half way through you’re not sure what horror sub-genre it is, I was guessing along with the characters and they were smart not to throw the supernatural right at the beginning the film earns it, it makes sense when we find out what is going on.
The acting is very good, no it comes down to Cox and Hirsch, they play off each other well but the father and son relationship is written very well, it’s not the standard bickering or fighting, and here’s something in a horror film they never stop and accuse each other of fight at all, so refreshing in a horror film where the main characters try to work together to survive. They even manage to work in a backstory, it helps flesh out the characters and gives the performances depth, it’s a very well written horror film. This is not lazy writing or horror cliches 101.
What I Didn’t Like: There’s not much here I will pick at but the ending, I mean the very ending felt tacked on and this film is better than this for that kind of cheap final shot.
The only other thing is the puzzle that is the body, while clever is fairly complicated and a lesser film it might not have worked but they saved it for being a bit silly, they could have sharpened some of the reasoning. We get a lot of info thrown at us at the end and a couple of twists.
Final Thoughts: A creepy and very effective horror film, not perfect but it’s very good and if you’re a horror fan and have sat through a bunch of dumb stories with cliched characters well sit down for a very refreshing change of pace. A smart and well directed and written horror film.