This feature turned out so good, even with its mainstream feel, that it could have worked as the opening film. I have had bad luck with disconnected anthologies in the past. Fortunately, this offering puts the stories in similar context, style, period and palette. There’s more interaction between stories, but you’ll have to read further to get that. It does have a few flaws, but overall it feels likes a tightly wrapped up collection.
The Mortuary Collection was written and directed by Ryan Spindell. I have to mention Elie Smolkin for the colorful cinematography employed throughout the film. Just because it’s horror it doesn’t have to look horrible. The palette is warm and pleasing to the eye. I also love the time period. No modern conveniences, we’re in the 50s or early 60s and everything takes place in the same town. Welcome to Raven’s End.
Okey, the set pieces do look a little Burton-esque. We got Clancy Brown happily chewing the scenery (in a good way) and having a grand time as mortician Montgomery Dark. He’s introducing the world of his stories to young applicant Sam (Caitlin Fisher). I’ll let you discover the stories for yourself, but they are definitely horror stories albeit with a touch of innocence. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of mischief about and Sam will not be just a passive listener here.
What I loved from the stories is they keep themselves to the same color palette and time period established while each of them have different grades of horror scenarios to play with. They also happen in the same shared universe as evidenced by recurring characters getting reused without the stories being related. It does look a little too nice at times but there’s blood and violence that saves it from becoming completely Disney-fied. I know some of you might disagree with me.
Recommended with reservations for horror fans that love short stories. It does have a mainstream theme park feeling to it at times and it does play with cliche frases quite a bit. It does subvert some themes though, although nothing too experimental. Stays mainstream enough for casual audiences to enjoy without going jumpscare crazy. I did love how it keeps all the stories within the same universe with recurrent characters. It also spares some time for an overarching plot which it takes the decency to conclude.
That will do for now.