Necrologies Movie Review

Written by Joanna K. Neilson

Released by SRS Cinema


Written and directed by Fabien Chombart, Guillaume Defare, Nathalie Epoque, François Message and Alexis Wawerka
2018, 75 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Released on 30th October 2019

Jean-Claude Dreyfus as Le gardien de cimetière
Sophie Jarmouni as Elsa
David Faure as L'homme
Sabine Rosoli as La femme / la bête
Alissia Esteve as Diana


Anthology films are tricky beasts, and usually some stories are a lot better than others. In this five-segment horror sequence, it is good to find only one of them doesn’t entirely work, and the intervening sections - with its uncanny Gravekeeper character - set up more than enough weirdness to glue each tall tale together.

So, the linking sections open with a hapless vlogger - or blogger - running afoul of a creepy graveyard’s trespassing rules. As the vlogger plays for time before the cops are called, he swaps tall tales with the Graveyard’s Keeper. And, while The Keeper seems fairly normal, there’s definitely something strange about him. He has a photobook containing the most special graves in his care, and the following stories hinge around some of the strangest bodies buried nearby.

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There’s the freaky, Call of Death, where a woman is stalked by a mysterious voice on her mobile phone (the ancient phone itself dates this to about 2008, incidentally) and the twist is a very long way from Scream.

A stronger, more conventional entry is The Beast, which is beautifully acted and actually bordering on really scary. Even so, this manages to generate a few tears before its finale. Thirdly, wedged in the middle for its unapologetic weirdness is Return of the Lizardmen, a ridiculously OTT conspiracy send-up, which is still enormous fun to watch - especially given how seriously the characters take it.

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Even more fun is A Hell of a Bargain where a real estate agent pushes around an old lady with the intention of selling her house from under her - only to learn that it contains something even more ruthless than he is. This is another story to cheer, laugh and wince throughout. If you can tolerate cheeky effects and enjoy some Tom & Jerry anarchy, this segment is extremely good fun.

The final story is the only one that doesn’t quite match up to the others. The Eye of Taal never quite gelled for me. Although its monster is very promising, the segment is far too pretentious - its almost total lack of humour doesn’t quite chime with the campy mood of the other four. A shame, but the film does get wrapped up nicely by the wraparound, when we’re returned to the graveyard one last time and learn the vlogger’s ultimate fate.

This is a strong anthology despite its tiny budget. It feels like a cheeky love letter to the portmanteau movies of Amicus, only made on a shoestring with a major preference for the absurd. The first four stories are particularly good fun. And incredibly silly. They’re everything you might have ever liked about those shamelessly cheesy horror shorts from the 1980s, complete with asshole victims and monsters that would make John Landis feel right at home. The strongest story here really is The Beast, whilst the most ‘duckshit’ insane and inventive is The Return of the Lizardmen.

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Daft as all these stories are, they’re clearly made with a lot of love for the horror genre and shamelessly employ the ‘rule of fun’ over any depressing, grindhouse grimness. If you love films like Return of the Living Dead, you’ll have a ball with this campy horror - and keep your eyes peeled for horror icon Linnea Quigley, who starred in that movie!

And above all, don’t go seeking morbid thrills in the graveyard at night - unless you’ve got a very decent story of your own to tell...



Movie: 2.5 Star Rating Cover

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Fabien Chombart ... (segments "La Bête", "Nécrologies")
Guillaume Defare ... (segments "L'oeil de Taal", "Nécrologies")
Nathalie Epoque ... (segments "Appel Mortel", "Nécrologies")
François Message ... (segment "Le Retour des Hommes-Lézards")
Alexis Wawerka


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