Post Mortem Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Directed by Péter Bergendy
Written by Piros Zánkay
2020, 116 minutes, Not Rated
Released on September 20th, 2022

Starring:
Viktor Klem as Tomás
Fruzsina Hais as Anna
Judit Schell as Marcsa
Zsolt Anger as Imre
Gábor Reviczky as Oreg
Gabriella Hámori as Emi
Andrea Ladányi as Neni

 

Review:

In the months following a near-death experience at the end of the First World War, Tomás works as a photographer specializing in post-mortem portraiture, in which bodies of the recently deceased are posed with their living relatives for memorial purposes. A young girl named Anna invites him to visit her village, which has been decimated by war and illness and is now overrun with ghosts. Tomás finds the villagers pleasant enough, and there is no shortage of people looking to pose with their dead family members, but he is about to learn that the dead are angry and don’t always like to be photographed.

Post Mortem begins as a quiet study of sorrow and loss, injecting a rich, chilly atmosphere with plenty of unsettling visuals and an overwhelming sense of dread. Everyone we meet is emotionally damaged in one way or another and the isolated rural setting in winter is equally bleak. Working from a script by Piros Zánkay (The Last Image), director Péter Bergendy (The Exam) unfolds the macabre tale at a deliberate pace, slowly building suspense as viewers await the promise of supernatural chills. The buildup is highly effective, as we quickly learn the dead outnumber the living.

 

Once the hauntings kick into overdrive in the second half, the film takes on a breakneck pace that can be a bit jarring but is not exactly a deal breaker. On the positive side we get a much needed release to the high-level tension that has been steadily building for the last hour, but honestly I wanted to see how much longer the filmmakers could sustain it. That being said, the amped up remainder is filled with some surprisingly decent CGI that enhances a number of unexpected twists and turns.

Post Mortem is a Hungarian film about a stranger in a strange land questioning reality and his sanity. Is he dead but unaware? Is he actually talking to mischievous ghosts? Facing some familiar tropes, these are some of the questions I was quickly asking and am happy to say the film doesn’t cheat in its answers. While it may not be the most original chiller you’ll come across, it does bring some new ideas and presents well-mined material with a fresh spin. I can recommend it easily, but you may want to catch it streaming before committing to a purchase.

 

Video and Audio:

Presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, picture quality is razor-sharp with lots of fine detail. The snowy winter setting brings a cool color palette, but flesh tones appear natural throughout.

There are two audio options, a DTS-HD MA 5.1 and DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix and either choice works up to a point. The problem with the tracks is both are dubbed in English and the lack of an original Hungarian language listening option is very disappointing. I had the same complaint on the recent Shout Studios release of On the 3rd Day, so this may be the norm for foreign language films coming from this studio collection. What we do get is effectively creepy, but the dubbing is distracting. Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

 

Special Features:

The main supplement on this disc is a collection of deleted scenes (9 minutes) presented in Hungarian (!) with English subtitles.

The original trailer has been included.

 

Grades:

Movie: Cover
Cover
Video:
Audio:
Features:
Overall: 3 Star Rating

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