Alan Rowe Kelly has created a horror film that seduces the viewer with visual montages of stark landscapes and sordid violence. Reminiscent of classically terrifying and subdued films of the seventies like the Margot Kidder thriller Black Christmas, I’ll Bury You Tomorrow is a dark, dark, dark comedy.
Port Oram seems like a small, dead town. Small bars, small churches, and small funeral homes. The funeral business is bustling, however, and Mr. And Mrs. Beech need an assistant to help with the family business. Corey Nichols, and her on-again, off-again abusive boyfriend Jake Geraldi, are currently the only help that the Beech’s have. The last thing they need is someone coming in and discovering the secret business they run under the Beech’s noses. Corey and Jake steal bodies and sell them on the black market. It’s the perfect setup! That’s why when Dolores Finley comes in to town; Corey and Jake are suddenly on edge. Dolores is an experienced mortician, and she gets a job at the Beech’s Funeral Home immediately. Not only a smart woman, Dolores is also sexy and grabs Jake’s attention away from Corey. Needless to say, Corey is not too fond of Dolores, and as her and Jake’s secret becomes harder to keep from the Beeches, Dolores’s secrets have a way of spilling out as well. Mr. and Mrs. Beech couldn’t be more delighted, however, to have Dolores with them! She looks so very much like their lost daughter who died ten years ago. In fact, Dolores stays in their daughter’s old room at the insistence of Mrs. Beech. Maybe if Mrs. Beech prays hard enough, Dolores will actually become her daughter?
With a nasty past of her own, and some increasingly apparent mental problems, Dolores doesn’t seem to find the peace she was looking for in Port Oram. Disruptions from Corey and Jake, along with the stubborn, smothering love of Mrs. Beech, nearly drive her over the edge. Her only hope is to keep taking her medication everyday, unless someone were to take it away from her?Now that would be disastrous! Corpses, blood, necrophilia, violent death, and demented humor round out the macabre story. A woman tormented to the point of insanity is forced to survive the only ay she knows how: by surrounding herself with death.
A superbly executed script is what makes this film so strong. It is violent and gets right to the point from the very first scenes of the film, but has a subtle realistic flair that is seldom seen in horror films. It watches like a BBC special or a soap opera at times, soft and muffled, but then terrifyingly brutal the next moment.
It is acted more like real life, with inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies of the characters brought to life by inspired camera work. This film definitely has style and has been directed with great care and attention to detail.
Zoë Daelman Chlanda is very creepy as Dolores, the beautiful woman who is maniacally disturbed. She brings strength and softness to the role that allows the film to feel creepy rather than funny, or serious rather than a parody. Chlanda is also capable of acting in a humorous scene while still keeping the dark aspects of her character in plain view. The complexity of the role and the script required someone who is able to embody many emotions at once, and Chlanda delivers. Alan Rowe Kelly steals nearly every scene he is in as Corey Nichols. His subdued wit and near laughable bitchiness add comedy to the film, but he also reveals Corey Nichol’s sinister and conniving side with great cleverness. By far the most outstanding actor in the film is Jerry Murdock as both Sheriff Mitch Geraldi and the degenerate Jake Geraldi. In a performance that will blow you away, Murdock plays the dual roles so well that it is impossible to tell it is the same actor until the end credits. Impressive and professional, his performance is so polished that both of his characters have major roles in the film while contributing to the film’s intensity in much different ways. Katherine O’Sullivan is both funny and severe as the pathetic and demented Mrs. Beech.
Disturbing sex scenes and necrophilia, the idea of being buried alive, death by formaldehyde, and all the possible fun ideas that a funeral home can provide to the demented are explored with great depth in this film. In style it has that special creepy feeling of early seventies slasher films, mixed with some sprinkles of 60’s horror sex romps. The grittiness of films like The Corpse Grinders and Black Christmas is an obvious influence on I’ll Bury You Tomorrow, while the title itself is suggestive of gore fests with cute names like I Eat Your Skin,I Spiton your Grave, I Piss on Your Corpse, and I Saw What You Did
With some awesome axe-chases and hacking deaths, the end is marvelously fun. The suspense may (not literally) kill you as you wait anxiously on the edge of your seat. Like sex, the pace builds and builds until you think you just can’t take it anymore. The film explodes into a nerve-racking final confrontation. Then it lulls you into a smooth, slow satisfaction. Just when you think it’s over, it starts all over again. To be more accurate, it is like having sex at seventeen.
Challenged only by films like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Black Christmas in brutality and disturbance, I’ll Bury You Tomorrow is a fun and fierce look back at what was right about horror in the seventies.
Buy this bad boy here.