Director – Hèctor Hernández Vicens
Cast – Alba Ribas, Cristian Valencia, Albert Carbó, Bernat Saumell
Release Year – 2016
Reviewed by John of the Dead
The success / my enjoyment of The Autopsy of Jane Doe had me excited to see another horror film involving a dead body and a morgue setting. I was unsure of what to expect going into this one, and I will say that its first act left me in shock. Let’s just say it brought back vibes felt with Deadgirl and Nacho Cerda’s Aftermath. There are no holds barred in this Spanish film, which is the debut effort for director Hector Hernandez Vicens. You should see his name again in the near future as he is also debuting a Day of the Dead remake (Day of the Dead: Bloodlines) in a few months. The Corpse of Anna Fritz gets a lot of things right in the tension and “did they really do that on camera?” department. That is all it did for me though. The story is a bit flat and with nowhere to go it left me ready for the film to end. Thankfully, the end experience is still a good one, just not a great one.
Pau is an orderly who works the morgue at the local hospital. As an orderly he has unrestricted, and surprisingly, unsupervised access to the bodies of the recently deceased. When international sensation Anna Fritz is mysteriously found dead and later brought to his morgue, he invites his friends Ivan and Javi to take a gander at her flawless beauty. With lack of supervision, drugs/alcohol, and carnal desires beyond human decency, they commit the unimaginable – necrophilia. What was supposed to be a night of fun and instant gratification turns to a night of terror, chaos, and infighting when they learn Anna isn’t really dead.
At first glance you may be wondering if this is a supernatural film, as the “dead” Anna isn’t actually dead. That is not the case. She is very much still alive, and we aren’t given any information as to how this living person wound up in a morgue. There are plausible explanations for how this can happen, and the viewer will have to make them up in their head.
The writers ensure that the first act will either pull you in or turn you off. While the subject matter is nothing to be proud of, I was sucked in because I wanted to see how far they would take it, and I also wanted to see what was going on with Anna Fritz. I was admittedly a bit disappointed at the lack of a supernatural aspect, as that is usually what scares me. Nonetheless, this first act is intense. The camera does not shy away from the necrophilia, so we get a full-frontal viewing like that seen in Aftermath. These scenes are shocking, but nothing so shocking as the moment you realize she isn’t dead. The execution from Hernandez Vicens is fantastic and left me rewinding the scene because I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The remainder of the film doesn’t include many more heinous acts. Instead, it focuses on what the trio of friends is going to do in order to get out of the situation and avoid jail time. Obviously Anna is a liability, but do they have what it takes to kill to preserve their livelihoods? As the stakes grow against them we see loyalties tested, as well as the true character of each individual.
99% of the film takes place in the hospital, with about 90% of it taking place in the morgue. The setting doesn’t move much, and sadly neither did the story. I would have liked to see it expanded a bit, especially in regards to the trials the men face. Basically, I wanted to see their day get even worse. I will say that I am glad the flick clocked in at a cool 75 minutes. If the story isn’t going to move much then don’t waste time with unnecessary scenes, and the writers were fully aware of that.
Hernandez Vicens’ direction is pretty solid and a big reason behind why I enjoyed the film. I enjoyed his full-frontal execution and found the most brutal scenes to not be as tasteless as they sound. Instead, they further the feeling that they must pay for their actions. We are also treated to good acting performances from all involved. This is definitely a film where character play is important. Watching the breakdown between old friends was great, and most importantly it felt real. As for the horror it really only applies to the first act and the few scenes of violence thrown in here and there. There is a very minor kill count here as it is just not that type of film. This is really more of a thriller with elements of horror, and I mean some strong elements of horror.
Overall, The Corpse of Anna Fitz is a flick that starts off in insane fashion and maintains some good tension thanks to great character play. Those looking for a brash thriller may find joy in this, but its storyline being so linear made this too sedentary of a film for my liking.