Written by Angus Fraser & Lynne Stopkewich
Directed by Lynne Stopkewich
Based on a short story by Barbara Gowdy
Sandra Larson...Molly Parker
Mr. Wallis...Jay Brazeau
"When you die, your life flashes and you disintegrate, radiating energy. When a thing turns into its opposite, when love becomes hate, there are always sparks, but when life turns into death, it's explosive. There are streaks of light, magical and electrifying. Everyone senses something, some energy, some spirit, some sort of illumination. But I see it. I've seen bodies shining like stars."
These are the words of Sandra Larson, a frail and damaged young woman who finds much more beauty in death than she does in life. As a girl, she would find dead animals, dance around them, and rub their remains all over her body before burying them--which is disturbing enough, but grows worse as she gets older.
She gets a job at the Wallis Funeral home, preparing and dressing the bodies of the recently deceased. Her contact with them is initially relatively restrained--a light caress, perhaps, or a gentle kiss--but it quickly spirals into a full-blown physical relationship, what the professionals call NECROPHILIA.
She doesn't seem ashamed of her actions, and in fact admits it right up front when she is hit on by med student Matt. He's not disturbed or disgusted by her confession as one might expect, but rather he is intrigued. Curious, even. The relationship they strike up is relatively normal considering the revelations it was predicated upon--but her obsession with death, and his obsession with her obsession--leads them down a very dark road.
Probably the first romance film I've reviewed here, the subject matter is dark enough and morose enough for it to fit in. The concept of what is and what isn't horror is extremely personal and malleable, and I'd squeeze this one in somewhere between May and Love Object.
Due to the deviant subject matter, I'm reluctant to call it beautiful. However, I can't help it. It was a beautiful, sad, and very human film ruminating on life, death, and what comes after. There's no doubt that this is a very sick romance, but it's handled tastefully enough that you don't have to be too hardened to watch this.
It's certainly not going to be to everyone's taste, but it might make a good date movie--if both parties involved are of a darker persuasion.
"You know, I don't fuck everything that's dead!"