Friday, February 28, 2014

DVD Review: MEMORY OF THE DEAD (2012)

MEMORY OF THE DEAD (2012) 


Label: Artsploitation Films
Region: 1
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 89 Minutes
Audio: Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles

Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Director: Valentín Javier Diment
Cast: Gabriel Guity, Lola Berthet, Matias Marmorato

We start off with a creepy and macabre lullaby as a young woman, Alicia, wakes up from a frightful nightmare to find her beloved husband Jorge laying dead next to her. Forward forty-nine days later and she has assembled a small group of Jorge's closest friends at her rural home for a reading of a letter Jorge left behind for each of them, and to celebrate his life. 


Perhaps not surprisingly when the film is titles Memory of the Dead there's a bit more to the story than that. It seems Alicia has called upon these friends in an effort to resurrect Jorge from the grave through the occult, and as the clock strikes midnight odd and menacing things creep up on each of the mourners with violent results. 


Argentinian director Valentín Javier Diment's film is a pretty simple conceit, a variation on the classic cabin-in-the-woods story filtered through the eyes of Dario Argento, a phantasmic nightmare of malevolent spirits and geysers of ferocious gore. The images conjured are demented and sopping with blood, the gore hounds will not be disappointed by the visceral experience but some might be a bit turned off (or maybe just confused) by the pervasive dream logic, the narrative can be a bit disjointed at times.


I found the performances to be very natural, if sometimes a bit campy. There's definitely a macabre sense of humor at play throughout the film, it's not all dread and nightmares, particularly the finale. The group of mourners are on the surface friendly with each other but as the night creeps in those friendships are quickly torn asunder and betrayal is evident at every turn. 

The production looks fantastic while the image doesn't have a lot of depth to it's superbly lit in every shot and each sequence is framed nicely, this is a gorgeous film with oodles of macabre atmosphere and surreal imagery. I give this a high recommend, a creepy and nightmarish version of Evil Dead 2 (1987) by way of Argento's Suspiria (1977) and one heck of a ferocious gore-fest, totally fun. 3.5 Outta 5 

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