THE CORPSE OF ANNA FRITZ (2015) aka EL CADÁVER de ANNA FRITZ
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Disturbing Spanish thriller is not straight up horror, but has enough elements to qualify, nonetheless. Story finds the world in shock as famous actress Anna Fritz (Alba Ribas) has been found dead at a party and her body taken to an undisclosed hospital. Young morgue attendant Pau (Albert Carbó) works at that hospital and sends pictures of Anna to his friends Javi (Bernat Saumell) and Ivan (Cristian Valencia). The two young men arrive at the scene to get a firsthand look and after some booze and cocaine, things take a disturbing downward spiral. After ogling and groping her body, thug-like Ivan violates Anna’s corpse and then Pau, who has apparently done this before at work, joins in. That is just the beginning of this descent into the evil that men do, as Anna awakens during the rape. Now the three young men have to decide what to do with her, as the pretty actress is obviously alive and able to report their depraved acts…and she is already thought to be dead in the first place.
Unnerving flick is tensely directed by Hèctor Hernández Vicens from a script written by he and Isaac P. Creus. The subject of these degenerate youths violating a corpse in a morgue is disturbing enough, but having the poor woman awaken in the middle of it is even more unsettling. On top of that, these creeps are actually plotting to return her to her state of death to cover up what they’ve done. They don’t even need an alibi, as everyone thinks she’s already dead. It puts our sympathetic lead character in quite the dire situation. Vicens cranks up the tension and isolation as this is a night shift and the morgue is empty and the hospital above, minimally staffed. Anna is alone and still somewhat paralyzed from whatever put her in this state (drugs?) and basically, defenseless. Things can be a bit predictable, as we know that the only character with a straight up conscience, Javi, needs to be removed somehow to keep Anna in peril and being an actress, we know she’ll do her best to use her skills to survive. It’s well done and still involving to watch play out, even if we can see where it is heading at times. It still works.
The cast really helps elevate this small flick. Alba Ribas is very sympathetic as Anna. She plays the victim well, though not completely defenseless, relying on her wits to help her survive the night. The actress goes through a lot over the course of the film and we are rooting for her to somehow get out of this. Cristian Valencia is very good as the brute Ivan. He’s an example of all the wrong doing that men are capable of, with drinking, drugs, necrophilia, murder and cold-bloodedly planning to kill others to cover it up, not to mention dragging Pau along with him. He’s a monster and the actor really makes us hate him. Albert Carbó is good as Pau. Even though he is conflicted about killing Anna and what happens to Javi, he still admits to raping corpses and does violate Anna, so we don’t have much sympathy for him. Bernat Saumell plays Javi well enough to feel sorry for him, when doing the right thing causes him harm. He’s the only one with a moral compass and that sadly doesn’t bode well for him in his current company. With limited screen time, we come to like him, even though we know his wanting to stop things before they go any further will not end well.
In conclusion, this is not a great movie, but still a disturbing and tense one. We have an unsettling series of events getting progressively worse, as two young men give in to some horrible impulses and a young woman may pay the price of keeping their vile acts secret. Director and co-writer Hèctor Hernández Vicens creates tension and a sense of isolation as helpless Anna is all alone with these morally bankrupt young men. The cast perform their roles well and even if it’s a bit predictable, it still works, even if we have an idea of how it’s going to end up. Film is supposedly based somewhat on real life events. Yikes!
Rated 3 (out of 4) toe tags.
Be Warned, trailer is graphic. NSFW!