This film weaves delightful bite-sized works with a series of stories that are given just the right length to breath, whilst never overstaying their welcome. Written and directed by Ryan Spindell (making his feature debut after a decade of strong work in short cinema), The Mortuary Collection benefits from a single creative voice across each of the stories. Themes bleed over from one work to another, an effective style is used across each and Spindell gives the film a charming period look that really goes down a treat here. This is a heightened work, drenched in Americana 50s gothic aided by a gorgeous palette from cinematographers Caleb Heymann and Elie Smolkin, whilst the score by the Mondo Boys (She Dies Tomorrow) builds tension whilst enhancing some of the more comedic moments. The details in the sets and costumes means audiences are transported to the film’s setting and this really is a visual treat.
In the lead role Clancy Brown gives a delightful turn, his voice exuding gravitas. Brown’s career is an eclectic one with supporting turns in the likes of Spongebob Squarepants (Mr. Krabs), The Shawshank Redemption and Starship Troopers. It is a joy to see him given the kind-of lead role he can have fun with here and he brings an intoxicating energy to the part. The cast of each individual story are great whilst there is a fun and, in the end, integral part of Caitlin Custer. There is a commitment to the bit on a creative, technical and performative level that elevates The Mortuary Collection to must watch status.
A grisly, silly crowd-pleaser, The Mortuary Collection is a darkly comedic affair that harkens back to genre tales from the 50s. If there is a tendency for each story to play out in a not dissimilar manner, the film is aware enough to poke fun at this fact. A macabre treat, this is one anthology that is all killer and no filler, another in Shudder’s Very Good Year.