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Funeral Home
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by Jack Sommersby

"A Real Cinematic Stiff"
1 stars

A low-budget Canadian-made picture without a single good scene to its credit, it's dead-on-arrival.

The funereally dull Funeral Home is one of those cheaply-made horror pictures so direly lacking in the bare essentials and basic common sense that it's amazing the project got green-lighted in the first place. From its title one is led to expect some frightening goings-on in a creepy abode, but, in a major miscalculation, very little of actual conflict takes place in it, so those expecting something by the likes of haunted-house horror will be sorely disappointed. The story is set in the small town of Northapmton, where a former funeral home has been turned into a tourist home by owner Maude, only it hasn't been doing much in the way of robust business due to the general gloominess of the place and Maude's staunch religious convictions -- when her guests merely exhibit healthy libidos and adventurous spirits she comes down hard on them and demands they leave the next morning. Her attractive granddaughter Heather has arrived for the summer to help out, and she immediately irks Maude's chagrin by cozying up to Rick, the younger brother to sheriff's deputy Joey; averring that her mother wouldn't approve, she tries to distance the two, along with putting off Joey who's taken an interest in the six missing-person reports in the last two years that have gone unresolved -- and that's not including Maude's undertaker husband, who mysteriously disappeared around that time and whom she's curiously unconcerned. That's practically it for the mundane story, and the filmmakers take damn near an eternity to play out what's fairly obvious to the viewer from the get-go -- can you say Psycho? There are numerous shots of the rough-looking, mentally-impaired handyman who's too obvious a red herring; the guests who either make trouble (an obnoxiously uncouth vacationing couple) or suspect something awry is happening under the roof (a salesman who's come to town to locate his wife who went missing in the area not long ago) get dispatched not in the house but at the nearby lake; and Heather hears strange voices coming from the cellar she's been told not to go into that sound like her grandmother and an unidentified party. But it's hard to care. Debuting screenwriter Ida Nelson has given us not a single interesting character or surprising plot turn, while director William Fruet has no idea how to use the camera to convey expressive suspenseful mood. For thrills, the kiddie ride at your local amusement park would better suffice.

Three years later the somewhat-better "Mausoleum" at least offered some trashy appeal.

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originally posted: 04/04/13 01:11:02
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  12-Aug-1982 (R)
  DVD: 12-Nov-2007



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