Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
Pearry Reginald Teo
What's it about
A character study of three men, each with their own issues, who find their lives intersecting literally in Hell. One man goes there through death, one by his own volition, and one by force. But each has a choice to make: to let go or give in to their inner demons (ha ha).
Is it good movie?
Necromentia is a narrative told in the fractured way popularized by Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan. We are introduced first to Hagen, an obviously fractured person himself, tending a little too lovingly to the corpse of his wife. Next comes Travis and his mute counterpart, men who know all about the morbid ministrations and want to help him go to the afterlife to retrieve her soul. Travelling back in time, we find that Travisís motivations lie in reconnecting with his dead younger brother, and going even farther back it is revealed that both men share a relationship with the mysterious Morbius, though on different sides of this mortal coil.
In any movie involving frequent trips to an underground place reeking of brimstone and populated by pale characters with interesting anatomies, there is little hope to be found here and few happy endings. Everyone gets a choice to make, but being human, there can only be one outcome: Hagen and Travis cannot give up their loved ones, even though they are dead, and Morbius cannot let his past go even in his own death. Each non-choice pitting them on the wrong side of a very nasty monster.
Necromentia is a film that has a lot going for it. Director Pearry Teo clearly has an eye for visuals and can deftly handle alternative narrative styles, though he does have his fair share of pretension. While the film has its heart in the right place, it is somewhat derivative. Saw and Hellraiser make an appearance (which is even mentioned on the back of the DVD) and the bizarre steam-punk set design recalls Dark City. The film also has some logic flaws. I wonít detail them as they might be spoilery, but if you watch the film they should be pretty glaring.
The film truly shines when tackling Travisís backstory, with Chad Grimes really being the standout player in the cast. So much so that when it switches to another story arc it is something of a bummer. I would much rather have spent more time with him than with Morbius or Hagen. And I mean that in a totally heterosexual way.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen of course, and for a film shrouded in shadows most of the time the image is surprisingly clear.
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, with optional Spanish and English (for the hearing impaired) subtitles.
Q and A with director Pearry Teo and actor Chad Grimes: This is a sit down interview with the two men, and they answer questions both from the interviewer and people who have seen the movie during its limited screenings. It has its moments, but both men are clearly unaccustomed to doing interviews. They both seem a bit tharn.
Commentary with director Teo and cast-mates Grimes and Crow Garrett: I feel the same about this commentary as I do about the Q and A. Interesting tidbits about the production abound, but eloquent it ainít.
Overall I liked the film, though more for Chad Grimes and the cool Hell beast than the often lame narrative ploys. The sum of the conclusion doesnít equal its parts, but at the end of the day Necromentia is a low-budget independent horror film that attempts to present its information in an interesting manner.And there is something to be said for that.