Post-Mortem (2010)

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Overall Rating 60%
Overall Rating
Ranked #10,547
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Connections: Head Case

A suicidal teenage boy is befriended by a sadistic serial killer, who vows to set him free of his drug-addicted family. From award-winning filmmaker Anthony Spadaccini comes the third and most horrifying chapter in the "Head Case" series, an experimental horror film that depicts a journey into an adolescent's surrealistic nightmare. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: October 24, 2010
With this review, I am doing something that I have never done before: I'm sitting at my desk and beginning to type while the movie still has about a half hour to go before the credits roll. I always allow a movie time to tell its entire story before I give it a write-up on this site, but with Post-Mortem, I believe that I can at least get the majority of the review done before they finally show up. The reason for this is simple: regardless of how the movie ends, I'm pretty sure that I know what the final score will be. Unfortunately, unless said ending involves a nubile young woman stepping out of the screen and performing unspeakably naughty acts on me, that score will not be pretty.

You, yes you dear reader, will fall into one of two camps with this film: you've either seen the previous two movies (Head Case and The Ritual) and know the storyline by now, or you haven't seen them and have no business reading this review since you really need to watch the movies in order. You either know all about Delaware's favorite group of serial killers, or you're no longer reading this.

So, with that out of the way, Post-Mortem is another set of "home movies", and this one revolves around John Craven's (Mark Cray) search for a protégé to carry on his serial-killing ways. He finds one in Seth (Devin Kates), a whiny little emo kid who uses his webcam to tell his online buddies about how much his life sucks and how he hates his parents. Oh, boo fucking hoo. John sees something in him though, and thus, he takes him under his wing and attempts to show him how much fun it would be to go on a killing spree. Save for the ending, that's the extent of the storyline other than minor subplots with Robert Z'Dar (who is looking and acting absolutely horribly these days) and Brinke Stevens (who doesn't get much time to shine).

On the positive side of things, I can't make one of the complaints that I did in my review for The Ritual. The "artistic overdose" problem has mostly been remedied, as aside from a few scenes which were presented in slow-motion or sped up, the film looks like a film should look. The camera is pointed at actors, they do their thing, we see the results - simple and to the point. Sure, half of it is in black and white while the other half is in color, a decision which doesn't really fit in with the theme of the film (do they even sell black-and-white camcorders these days?), but I can certainly live with that.

Getting to the negative, and this is the big negative... well, let's take a look at a paragraph from my review of The Ritual, shall we?

My second complaint here is the same one that I had for the previous film: the running time. The film clocks in at just short of two hours, when it really should have been a lean eighty minutes or a standard ninety minutes tops. There are countless scenes that could have been trimmed down or cut entirely, with key examples being the numerous scenes where nothing happens other than the camera lingering on someone's face for upwards of thirty seconds while music plays. There's simply no excuse for this: looking at the film as "authentic footage" would mean that the film editor did a sloppy job in condensing that library of tapes into a cohesive product, while looking at it as just another movie would mean... well, the film editor did a sloppy job.

I copied this here because it directly applies to this film as well. I'm not the kind of guy who has to see a kill or an explosion every two minutes to retain interest in a film, but I do need something to keep me intrigued. This film is chock-full of scenes where literally nothing is going on. Take, for example, the "rain" scene. We look out a window and see a shed while it rains. That's all that is on the screen for a few minutes: no dialogue, no people, just a shed and some rain. Then we switch to the sidewalk and watch the rain puddle up for a few more minutes. Again, no dialogue, no people, just a sidewalk and some rain. Finally, we see Seth standing in the rain: again, no dialogue, no action, just a guy standing in the rain and rubbing his own face. This entire sequence runs for what seemed like a couple of hours, and I felt that the entire thing could have been scrapped as it did nothing for the film. As a stand-alone scene, I could have skipped this paragraph, but sadly, there are a lot of stretches of running time that play out exactly like this.

Overall, I'm not able to give this film a recommendation, and I hope that - if he plans on continuing the series - Mr. Spadaccini decides to go back to the basics and tell a legitimate story that has enough material to honestly fill up those ninety minutes instead of relying on padding and fluff. The movies have been going downhill since that release, and it pains me to say that as I'd love to see a hometown guy succeed in the rough world of indie filmmaking. Unfortunately, an upward path and this film do not go hand in hand, and even though there is some great acting on display here from Mark Cray and a satisfying ending, I just couldn't get behind the product as a whole. 4/10.
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