THE CORPSE OF ANNA FRITZ [London Film Festival 2015]

PrintE-mail Written by Peter Turner

As debut features go, they don't come much bolder, or sicker, than The Corpse of Anna Fritz. When you try to raise money for a film about guys who have sex with a corpse, the offers probably don't come flooding in. Luckily, first time director Hèctor Hernández Vicens doesn't need a huge budget, setting his film mostly in one room; the morgue of a hospital where the ghastly deed is enacted.

If that's turned you right off, then this clearly isn't the film you're looking for. This isn't an American Pie-style coming of age comedy about guys experimenting with simple innocent food products for their sexual pleasure. This is a spare, simple thriller about a group of young men who think screwing a dead celebrity might be an acceptable thing to do, so long as no one ever finds out.

When adored starlet Anna Fritz dies and is taken to the morgue, orderly Pau immediately takes a picture on his camera phone to show his friends. Said friends, Ivan and Javi, then rock up to see the naked corpse for themselves. What starts with some icky fondling, quickly turns into full-on rape as both Ivan and Pau decide to take advantage of the poor dead girl. But when all three men are locked in the morgue over night, events spiral out of control as the men turn on each other.

To say any more about a couple of the crazier early twists and turns in the story would be to ruin a huge surprise, and a major key to the success of The Corpse of Anna Fritz as a thriller. Needless to say, many reviews will probably spoil a major plot point that comes within the first half hour of the film, so be careful what you read before seeing it.

Despite the incredibly dark beginnings to the story, Vicens squeezes in some pitch black humour, making the whole affair far more tolerable than its sick premise suggests. There is little restraint in his portrayal of the nastiest elements of the script though. This is a tough watch to start with and only becomes a more conventional thriller in the latter half. Vicens ratchets up the tension neatly, making the most of his simple set-up, and increasingly unlikeable protagonists. Set almost entirely in one room, and all over one night and with very few characters, The Corpse of Anna Fritz excels in executing its suspense-filled setup.

Along with its brief but pertinent allusions to the treatment of celebrities, it also not so subtly addresses modern masculinity and rape culture. It’s a shame it doesn't go further here as it is at its most intense and disturbing simply when having a group of guys hover over the corpse of a beautiful, lifeless actress; Three Men and a Dead Girl's Corpse if you like.

Tackling taboos head on, The Corpse of Anna Fritz is certainly a shocker. Though it has at least one major surprise in store, it’s a shame it becomes more conventional and less confrontational as it goes on. Still, if you think looking at a hacked starlet’s naked photos on the internet is okay because she’ll never find out, this might make you think twice.

THE CORPSE OF ANNA FRITZ / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: HECTOR HERNANDEZ VICENS / SCREENPLAY: ISAAC P. CREUS, HECTOR HERNANDEZ VICENS / STARRING: ALBERT CARBO, ALBA RIBAS, BERNAT SAUMELL, CRISTIAN VALENCIA / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expected Rating: 5 out of 10

Actual Rating:

 


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