Horror. Worldview. Faith.

The Morgue – Review

The Morgue – Review

Feb 5, 2011

reviewed by hallo
directed by Halder Gomes and Gerson Sanginitto, 2008

I dialed in The Morgue knowing absolutely nothing about the film other than the title and 2 sentence synopsis offered by my Comcast On-Demand service.   The movie centers around Margo, a young college girl who is making ends meet by working the night clean up shift at a morgue.  Her only companion at night is George, the alcoholic night watchman who has apparently turned to the bottle over grief of losing his daughter.  The beginning of the film shows us Margo’s nightly routine, from vacuuming the office to scrubbing the bathroom, including her failed nightly attempts to clean off a blood soaked portion of the bathroom where a mysterious robed mortician apparently committed suicide (we never learn why or how that fits into the story).

One night, things get crazy.  Margo is interrupted by a family consisting of a mother, father, and little girl.  They ran out of gas and are trying to find a phone or lift to the nearest gas station.  Then, out of nowhere, two guys come crashing into the office, one of which is hurt very badly, bleeding from head to toe.  As the night moves on, all the characters begin noticing strange things happening and that their very lives are in danger from hooded figures.  Getting away from the morgue proves to be impossible as all roads lead right back to the front door.  This kind of chaos continues until the sun rises the following day.  The movie then takes about 10-15 minutes to explain itself, trying its very best to do a M. Night Shyamalan “gotcha” ending.  Come to find out, ala Sixth Sense, all the characters except George were already dead, having been killed in a car accident.  Their near death experiences at the morgue that night parallel the kind of wounds they inflicted in the car wreck.

Horrible.  I just can’t think of another word to do justice to the overall quality of The Morgue.  The first 20 minutes of the film, which were establishing the routine of Margo, were filled with double exposures, quick cuts, slow motion, and every other lame effect you can think of to let the viewer know that things are a bit off.  Yep, we got the picture after the first thousand attempts.  I felt like the film editor was sitting down in front of his editing software for the first time and was excited to play with the effects.  Some of the scenes designed to make us think, like the appearing of different mops and brooms in the storage closet, just didn’t make any sense with the ongoing theme of the film, except again to warn the viewer that things are not so normal in this morgue.  The performances were sub-par and I found one of the most annoying aspects of the film to be the extreme delay between the character’s “shock” at seeing something and the camera allowing us to see it.  There would be a reaction shot to something apparently horrific that stayed on the characters for upwards of 30 seconds before we get to see what awful thing they are looking at.  It just got old after about 5 times.

Then, the absurd attempt to make some kind “twist” ending was pretty noticeable from the beginning of the film.  The explanation of the “twist” went on for way too long and I found myself longing for the movie to be over.  More than once during the film I was toying around on my Android phone because I felt like I had nothing better to do.

I think the only redeeming value of the film was the attempt to work in a religious sub-plot, which really proved to be ineffective on all grounds, but at least they tried.  The notion of purgatory, a primarily Roman Catholic understanding of the state of the dead before heaven or hell, is what these characters were experiencing.  We are privy to that information thanks to one quick sentence by Margo early in the film, and then it is repeated at the very end.

Stay away from The Morgue unless you are celebrating “boring day” and must find a movie to coincide.

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