Directed by Howard Avedis [Other horror films: They’re Playing with Fire (1984)]
I’ve long heard about this film, and for some time now, have been interested in seeing it. Does it live up to my expectations? For the most part, but it does have one glaring problem.
Mortuary has a lot of class for a slasher, and while the story itself was lacking in the atmosphere I was hoping it’d convey, there are plenty of suspenseful and well-done scenes. The setting, a coastal California city, stood out, and many of the actors were solid.
Mary McDonough, David Wysocki, Christopher George, and Bill Paxton all stood out positively (which, for George, is a good thing, as this is his final film before his death). Paxton in particular did extremely well with his role, a quirky, possibly messed up son of a mortician. He was over-the-top at times (the scene with him skipping through the graveyard was a bit much), but his character was fun, especially toward the end.
While we had decent suspense throughout, the one big problem with this film is lack of kills. On-screen, we get very little in the way of deaths, which is disappointing, as the few we do get are decently well-done. Something like two, three death scenes tops doesn’t really do it for me, and while certainly the story was interesting and captivating, a few additional tertiary characters to be bumped off would have made a positive difference.
That said, Mortuary ended up as a fine film. Sure, the route it took was one almost utterly expected (the ending itself wasn’t too far removed from Happy Birthday to Me), but this film took it with class. A solid movie, I just wish it had spent a bit more time giving us some kills. Otherwise, this is certainly worth a look for fans of the slasher subgenre.