5 July 2008 | The_Void
California Fungus Massacre!
In 1974, Tobe Hooper struck lucky with the low budget horror 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. This has lead to the director getting himself on many a list of horror fans' favourite directors - but for me, he was only ever really average and his filmography since his debut does nothing but prove that. Mortuary only serves in proving it further, as while my opinion of the film isn't quite as low as the average review; it's clear that this is a terrible movie and certainly not the work of a director with as much experience in the genre as Tobe Hooper. The basic plot sees a mother, her son and her daughter go to live in an old funeral home so the mother can take up a position as the town mortician (despite having no experience in such a job). This base leads to a whole load of other plots that spring from it. For a start, we've got the son's developing friendship with some of the locals, the story of the deformed boy who lives in the bowels of the funeral home, and also some strange fungus that attacks people and turns them into zombies...
It's clear that this is not going to be any good right from the word go, but in fairness to it; the first half of the movie actually isn't all that bad. There's nothing special about it, but Hooper introduces his characters well and sets the scene for the horror. It's not long, however, before the film descends into complete messy stupidity and by then it's better to sit back and laugh at the proceedings. Hooper has got his cast all wrong here too. I don't want to sound mean, but a film like this really needs a pretty lead actress to keep concentration up, and Denise Crosby doesn't really suit that role; and also fails to put any effort into her performance. The son character is obviously meant to be cool, but Dan Byrd is too dorky to carry it off and the fact that he's so young looking doesn't give him any credibility. Child actress Stephanie Patton is not bad (the best performer of the three central ones), and Alexandra Adi is the best thing about the film. Despite all its flaws; Mortuary is at least not completely boring, there are a few amusing moments (mostly for the wrong reasons) and certain set pieces work well. But this is not the work of a 'master' and in that respect it is disappointing.