It’s hard for a horror movie to surprise audiences nowadays. And yet, this movie takes unusual approaches to storytelling and character building. This is not about the usual tropes in horror, but the usual people in life. I found this a refreshing take on family, horror and its approach to death. You might think you know what’s coming next, but this feature surprises you at every turn.

(Source: Fantasia Film Festival)

The Undertaker’s Home (La Funeraria) was written and directed by Mauro Iván Ojeda. Bernardo (Luís Machín) owns a funeral home with his wife Estella (Celeste Gerez) who has a daughter named Irina (Camila Vaccarini) from a previous marriage. In every supernatural horror movie there’s a lore, a backstory to be revealed about how the universe works. But sometimes, we’re already aware. I love how this move just gets started. Yes, they live in a funeral home and must contend with “presences” some of them rather sinister.

This is a horror movie, but also a movie about family – a real flesh and blood family from nowadays, fractured and divisive. Irina constantly brings up her grandmother to hurt Estella with emotional manipulation. Bernardo is unable to control her. Irina is fiercely loyal to her dead father, despite the fact he was abusive to Estella. Estella resents Bernardo’s relationship with his father, even after he’s passed away.

It’s not a comedy, despite some dark humour aspects. It really brings a lot of horror elements to bear right off the bat, no warnings issued. Bernardo seems to be trying to build his own spirit family instead of worrying about his real one. Irina is just hoping that she gets to see her dad one more time, but the spirits are restless. Something else has gotten into the house that is not here to play.

Strongly recommended for horror audiences and movie fans in general. I think this film works in a way that it hits closer to the heart, with a real family and real problems. The family dynamics add a bit of a different dimension since everyone has their own agenda and everyone’s is somewhat relevant. However, casual audiences might want something with a lot more gore. The finale was a risk, with a rather peculiar moment that might puzzle some audiences. I found it delightful and brave to just add it in there.

That will do for now.