The Funeral Home (2021) is Below-Average Supernatural Haunter
Title: The Funeral Home
First Non-Festival Release: January 29, 2021 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Mauro Iván Ojeda
Writer: Mauro Iván Ojeda
Runtime: 84 Minutes
Starring: Luis Machín, Celeste Gerez, Camila Vaccarini
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
An unhappy family headed by funeral homeowner Bernardo (Luis Machín) must deal with the daily terrors and tribulations of living around so much death. Stepdaughter Irina (Camila Vaccarini) laments her frustrations to her mother Estela (Celeste Gerez) while refusing to give life in the home a chance. Things begin to escalate when the paranormal activity gets increasingly bloody and aggressive. They even bring in a local psychic to stop the violence that has been inflicted on their home. The family must put aside their differences to defeat the evil that is hellbent on tearing them apart.
Argentinian export, The Funeral Home, never strays far from the confines of its casket to deliver an underwhelmingly rote story of ghosts.
Sporting very few unique or interesting aspects about it, The Funeral Home lands as this year’s most forgettable genre entry so far. This is likely due to its underdeveloped script and budgetary limitations. Funeral homes are inherently creepy places for most people, considering how death is uncomfortable even within cultures that embrace it. Aside from being a convenient explanation for a glut of paranormal phenomenon, The Funeral Home could take place in any other home and still read the same. It doesn’t help that the single location of the horror causes the action to feel stale quickly within the film.
My biggest complaints from the film arise from its plot. Multiple subplots go on without resolution or recognition. Why are we to care about cheating or tension between family members when there’s no closure? Sure, in a realistic scenario not everything would be solved all at once, but then why have it presented? Most of the characters are irritating and lack depth too. There are moments that attempt to convey their issues and desires, but they fall flat when it comes to interacting with one another. There’s just no chemistry here and the writing doesn’t do the cast any favors.
It’s hard to dog on a film for things related solely to its low-budget status, but The Funeral Home has plenty of noticeable flaws. For instance, that score that you’ve heard a million times in every horror movie ever? Yes, it is here. Even worse, the score gets both loud in volume and annoying in repetition and familiarity the longer the film plays. The effects are lackluster, the set looks cheap, and the film drags despite being only 84 minutes long. I’m not saying all these problems could have been fixed perfectly but surely some of them could be.
Not all is bad within the film. Its most memorable moment is a lone scene towards the end of the film, which is choreographed nicely, even if a little strange, and acts as an appropriately heartfelt moment in an otherwise bleak film. It’s clear that effort is put in to create a bizarre experience for the audience with the ending, even if it doesn’t succeed in being fully exciting. Rich in atmosphere, its moody cinematography helps give the film a more eerie feeling. I commend the filmmakers for making do with what they have.
The recurring them with The Funeral Home is that its ideas never develop into anything beyond a generic demon or haunting story. It meets every requirement for a supernatural horror film without wanting to stand out in any way. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but it does feel stale when compared to more notable recent paranormal efforts. It cannot be said enough that stronger writing could have saved this film and turned it into something solid. The spooky atmosphere and interesting setting might work for some, so if it is up your alley go ahead and give it a go. I know for myself, I never plan on visiting The Funeral Home again, at least while I’m alive.
Overall Score? 4.5/10