The Mortuary Collection is a wonderful horror anthology series from writer/director Ryan Spindell. This is an anthology that will entertain you thoroughly, with something for everyone inside.
Sam (Caitlin Brown) answers the help wanted sign outside the mysterious funeral home of Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown). During Sam’s interview. She queries him on the stories of those who have passed away over his time running the home. As Clancy guides her through the building he details several stories. Each more interesting than the last, but he has one last story to share.
A rarity in the anthology world in that there is a reason why we are being told the stories. The Mortuary Collection is a welcome addition to audiences perhaps stuck on strenuous links between stories. Having Montgomery guide Sam around as her interest is piqued towards the goings-on of the funeral home allows for us to have our “host” guide not just the audience. There is enjoyment in the fact that even Montgomery and Sam have their arc. It should be best-left spoiler-free.
Interestingly, all of the stories are morality tales. These people are wrong in their actions and pay, perhaps a large price for it. We have the thief who becomes too curious for her good, then a fraternity brother who seduces multiple women and discards them after without the use of protection. A husband is left to care for his invalid wife and cannot take the pressures that it details and finally the story of babysitting when crazed people have escaped the nearby asylum.
Each of these tales stands on there and work well, with the added level of adult themes a welcome one. You could almost imagine this being a brilliant step up from RL Stines Goosebumps series. As this is a step up, it is a tad more graphic, but it is not graphic enough to dispel or gross you out. The opening stories are perhaps the most outlandish of the four. With the latter half being more standard fair. Even if the third story is perhaps the most heart wrenching of them all.
The Goosebumps vibe of the Mortuary Collection continues in the setting up with our two characters and the focus of the stories is rather akin to a Goosebumps story, only a bit more grown-up, this is right until the first story cranks up. We are then under no illusions as to what we are in for and it’s more adult nature is welcome.
Our final story is a decent twist of a story that if I am 100% honest, I never actually saw coming. So a lot of credit has to be given to Ryan Spindell for unleashing it at the right time. He also for the majority of the stories has been able to pace them well. With perhaps one needing to be a bit brisker in its middle section. That does not overly affect the story negatively however. Despite the generous running time given to the film there is a surprising lack of padding here.
Knowing that Sam and Montgomery are meant to have an arc allows the audience not to be impatient as we linger on them. The film is helped that Montgomery and Sam have great chemistry together as they build their own story between our four. When The Mortuary Collection stays with our two leads, it does not dawdle and moves along at a decent pace as they move around the old house.
As we have Spindell writing and directing the entire piece the consistency in tone and story is a great addition to the film. Usually, we have these short films be completely different in tone and you feel a disconnect from it. Here you don’t and it allows the entire film to flow freely. It would have been interesting to see a chilling horror story here. Bbut I do not believe the tone of that would have suited the overall film.
There are twists and turns in The Mortuary Collection that surprisingly get you. You could have theories at the start of the film at how we finish the film. They could very well be right, but more often than not, you will be wrong as to why Sam is there and why she wants access to visit the body.
In the end, we have an enjoyable romp that will hopefully spawn on more films, as there is the chance to make this a tidy little franchise with the funeral home being the perfect place for the tales to be shared.
Writer/director Spindell has created a wonderful anthology and continues his rise in the genre as a filmmaker to keep an eye on. If there is a modern anthology film to check out. Then The Mortuary Collection should be at the top of your watch list.
The Mortuary Collection is available on Shudder now.
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