Blu-ray Review: Post Mortem

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This is the 10th anniversary of Scream Factory being launched by Shout! Factory. Over the last decade, the label has released over 650 horror titles on home video. Part of their focus have been on classic titles with bonus features that deepen a viewer’s appreciation of the movies that scared them as a teenager. Scream Factory isn’t always looking for chills from the past as they have also released plenty of new indie horror films from around the globe. On the anniversary of Scream Factory’s launch, the release of Post Mortem seems so right. The movie was Hungary’s entry for the Best International Film Oscar (although it wasn’t nominated by the Academy). The film rightfully straddles between the Art House and the Grindhouse as it explores a known topic in an extreme environment. In the case of Post Mortem, we meet a photographer who specializes in photographing people who are stiff in front of a camera.

During a World War I battle, Tomas (Viktor Klem) is hit by an artillery explosion and his body dumped into a massive grave. Another soldier notices that Tomas is still breathing and has him pulled out of the corpse pile before the dirt went on top. During his time in the grave, Tomas imagines Anna (Fruzsina Hais), a young girl. Months after the war, Tomas has become a photographer who specializes in taking final pictures of the recently dead for grieving families. Sometimes he poses the deceased with the living for one final family portrait. In his journey, he meets a girl who resembles Anna. She gets him to bring his camera to her village where a pandemic has ravaged the area. The frozen ground of winter has prevented the bodies from being buried. He finds a booming business in a land where there are more dead than living. But things get weird quick as he keeps finding mysterious shadows lurking on his photographs. This elevates to strange noises and spectral forces yanking things around. Tomas and Anna do their best to capture even more proof of the ghosts that are lurking amongst the corpses. What is truly happening in this small town?

Post Mortem is prefect viewing for people who find themselves glued to the various ghost hunter shows that run on the Travel Channel. Tomas and Anna appear to be pioneers of the movement when they adapt their technology to get a better proof of what is happening when the ghostly activity soars. The film also fits in with the recent retrospectives of Folk Horror that accompanied the release of Kier-La Janisse’s Woodlands Dark And Days Bewitched documentary on the genre. We are in a remote part of Hungary where nature dominates the small town. What in the nature of this town is turning everything nightmarish. The big finale of the film is what I was expecting from Halloween Kills after it debuted at the Venice Film Festival. That film turned out to be the same ol’ same ol’ with characters being introduced and then hacked apart by the Michael Myers. Not much creativity there. There’s plenty of creativity found inside the Hungarian ghost story. Post Mortem delivers on the arthouse while still serving the chills you crave when you buy your ticket for a horror flick at a rundown cineplex. The special effects are top notch with plenty of fire burning up the screen. Post Mortem looks as good as any horror production from Blumhouse or the folks that make the Conjuring films. Director Peter Bergendy and his crew have made a movie that will make you want to avoid a pandemic ravaged Hungarian town. Post Mortem is a great way to celebrate the scary work accomplished by Scream Factory over the last decade.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks find as they browned up the image to give it the patina of an old photo. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround and 2.0 DTS-HD MA Stereo in both Hungarian and the English dub. The English dub works well if you’re not in the mood to read subtitles the first time around. The movie does have English subtitles.

Deleted Scenes (9:06) gives us more casket photography action and being spooked.

Trailer (2:14) captures what can go wrong when you photograph the dead as living.

Scream Factory presents Post Mortem. Directed by Peter Bergendy. Screenplay by Piros Zankay. Starring Viktor Klem, Fruzsina Hais, Judit Schell, Andrea Ladanyi, Gabriella Harmori and Gabor Reviczky. Rating: Not Rated. Running Time: 115 minutes. Release Date: September 20, 2022.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.