Toronto After Dark delivers it’s first spectral tale of the festival, with the beautifully crafted Hungarian film, Post Mortem from director Peter Bergendy. This one, has all the trappings of a classic ghost story, and does it right, well, and without going overboard on the visual effects.
Tomas (Viktor Klem) is recovering from a near fatal injury that occurred during his time on the battlefields of World War I. Working to make some money, he’s taken to being a photographer, providing bereaved loved ones with death photos, a family portrait taken with the corpse of the recently deceased.
When a young girl, Anna (Fruzsina Hais), sees his works, she approaches him, along with others of her tiny village, to come and catalogue their own dead, before the frozen ground thaws enough for them to be buried.
Arriving in the remote town, Tomas sets to work, but soon learns that there is something more going on here, there is something else in the town, swarming over the dead, and trying to get a message to the living.
And they are becoming violent in their attempts to communicate.
Bergendy’s film is beautiful to look at, and the story takes its time with its character work, and its creep factor. It never delivers jump scares, but instead is intent on telling a spooky story, and it succeeds wonderfully.
He keeps the visual effects subtle, and combines it wonderfully with physical effects, and consequently, delivers a solid period piece genre film. Hais and Klem bring their characters to life with ease, and the location work is gorgeous.
I don’t want to give away plot points, but the film definitely ha a delightful creep factor that gets under your skin, and the climax features great production design, sets, lighting, and performances. All of it is set against Tomas’ work as a photographer, and his experiences in the war.
I love how Tomas uses the tech of the time to facilitate not only his craft, but his investigation into the paranormal happenings of the village. And speaking of the tech, I love how the film brings its versions of ghosts to (after) life, and how they interact with the world around them.
There are some truly chilling and creepy moments throughout the film, so please check it out. This is a film to get involved in, to explore and enjoy. This is one you want to have the blanket for to cuddle up with a loved one, and just enjoy.
Post Mortem begins screening today at the Toronto After Dark film festival, and you can order it, and the rest of the festival’s films, for virtual screenings, here. So order it up, turn off the lights, settle in on the couch, and enjoy Post Mortem, here in Toronto… After Dark!