Directed by Richard Griffin
For today’s review I’m traveling back to the magical year of 2011. At least I think it was magical, I don’t really remember a whole lot about that year. And no, alcohol wasn’t a factor. Ok, it wasn’t a HUGE factor. Anyway, I’ve watched a LOT of horror in my time, but there is an equal (or maybe even greater) amount that I still have yet to see. Enter Exhumed, a movie that I’m embarrassed to say escaped my radar until recently. This is thanks to Rob at the wonderful Wild Eye Releasing, who was nice enough to send me a goodie-bag (or box in this case) of horror flicks to watch and review.
Exhumed tells the tale of five people who, despite how very different they are from each other, live together in a boarding house. What their connection is to each other I won’t reveal in this review; suffice it to say to this point they make living together work. Of course, their severe diversion to going out in the sunlight gives them little alternative.
Enter Michael, a college student looking to rent a room in the house. His presence almost immediately stirs the pot, so to speak, making the head of the household (known only as The Governess) take drastic measures to ensure the stability of the “family”. Unfortunately, after Michael suffers a tragic “accident” on a flight of stairs, it serves to be the catalyst towards the deterioration of the already shaky foundation the other members of the house are standing on.
If I had one regret after watching Exhumed, it was not knowing the name of Richard Griffin beforehand. I was amazed by how much I enjoyed the movie. I was a little worried at during the first few minutes, when I learned that it was filmed in black & white, but after getting through it I can’t imagine watching it in color. The only time color is used is during flashbacks of happier times, which I thought was an excellent decision.
Adding to the use of black & white is the fact that it made camera shots that much more eye candy to me. No shaky cam in this. None. Zero. When the camera moved it was fluid and smooth, there were many still shots that were brilliant in its execution, and the lighting in many of the scenes in combination with the black and white was amazing. In short, all of those aspects combined was nothing but pure art, and after all the crap I’ve had to put up with technically speaking in so many other movies, Exhumed would have made me cry with happiness. I mean, if I wasn’t an emotionless husk and all.
And now the characters and acting. The characters are so diverse and contrast each other to a level I rarely see these days. You probably remember several of my reviews where I complain that characters are either unlikable, or are the same old “let’s get drunk/high and party” types. Every character in this flick have something about them that sets them apart from the others, and still make them interesting.
Not to take anything away from the other actors, because very actor delivered a great performance. but the highlights for me were Debbie Rochon as The Governess, Sarah Nicklin as Laura, and Michael Thurber as The Butler. Rochon being awesome pretty much goes without saying, as she commands nearly every scene she appears in. There’s a reason why she’s one of the all-time great scream queens, and it shows here.
Sarah Nicklin did the best job of confusing me emotionally. Throughout the movie it’s perfectly clear that Laura is very disturbed and I would be very paranoid being around her in real life. And yet, at the same time she is so freaking cute and adorable that you can’t help but like her. That smile of hers is just plain infectious.
But after some thought, I have to say my favorite performance was from Michael Thurber. Though his role is The Butler, it’s clear his importance and authority in the house is much higher than his name suggests. And though The Butler is generally calm and collected, Thurber is very good at conveying emotion with his face and movements. Cool demeanor aside, The Butler may be the most unstable of all of them, possibly because during most of the movie he just wants to have a cigarette, only to be denied a number of times.
Exhumed is HEAVILY character and dialogue driven. So the gorehounds and violence junkies might not have the patience to get through it all. But for a movie shot in 11 days with a low budget, I found it was a true diamond in the rough. I fully recommend you watch this movie as soon as humanly possible. And I am very eager to see another Richard Griffin directed flick very soon. Rest in peace everyone.
Macabre Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.