Horror movies are genre movies by excellence. There are certain familiar beats you have to do in a horror movie. Any subversions of the usual formula are welcome. Director Dennison Ramalho may start his movie revealing everything right up front, but what he’s got in store later is what is really important.
The Nightshifter (Morto Não Fala) starts by revealing the full deck upfront: Stênio (Daniel de Oliveira) is a coroner that can talk to the dead. He works the late shift at the city’s morgue. We’re in one of Brazil’s largest cities (São Paulo, Brazil), with a violent crime rate and rising population so the dead roll in daily.
Stênio seems decent, he tries to put his “patients” at ease with their deaths, but he’s trusted with quite a few secrets. When he decides to use some of the gained information to solve his problems he soon will find himself cursed. That curse will propagate and spread to his own children. With his family in peril, and the dead accusing him of betrayal, the odds are definitely not on his side.
Dennison Ramalho’s first feature film is an adaptation of journalist Marco de Castro’s story (Morto Não Fala). It’s not the first time he’s adapted his work, but this is the director’s first full length movie and it works. From beginning to finish, you can feel immersed with the main character amongst the filth and the rot. There are plenty of scares but I do take an issue with one with the music reaching a crescendo and a volume boost. At that point you’re literally shouting in my ear. Fortunately, the movie doesn’t rely on that cheap trick more than once.
Recommended for fans of the horror and the macabre. It is a very bright… Wait, let me start over. It is a very dark, filthy and gloom example of a horror movie done right. And I mean that in a very wrong way. For the best experience, take it in with an audience of like minded people and few jilted lovers, either dead or undead.
That will do for now.