Film Gutter Reviews by Alex Davis
The Corpse of Anna Fritz (El Cadaver de Anna Fritz) (2015)
Make no mistakes – Spain is absolutely one of my absolute favourite patches of cinema. Some of my very favourite films – including the likes of The Orphanage and In a Glass Cage – have emerged from the nation. So having just signed up as a member at Shudder I was pretty pleased to see a few new and newish Spanish films, among them The Corpse of Anna Fritz. In my mind I had this a little confused with The Body – another movie well worth a look – but once I had finally established that this was a different film entirely, I thought this one was well worth a look. It had the Film Gutter feel from the title alone – and lived up to that, at least to some extent.
So, we begin our story in the morgue of a hospital with the cadaver of the aforementioned Anna Fritz being rolled in. As a huge international film star, her whereabouts in death are kept secret – but one of the morgue attendants, Pau, simply can't help telling (nay, bragging) to his friends about the body's presence there. So much so that he does down to show his mates – one of whom, Ivan, insists on taking his chance to have sex with the dead body. Pau even goes on to admit that he's done it before – pretty remarkable scenes all round. The third friend, Javi, is horrified by this particular discussion, which leads to a disagreement and his unfortunate death. To further complicate matters, as Pau takes his 'turn' after Ivan, Anna Fritz wakes up – still barely able to move or speak, but umistakably alive all of a sudden.
Now, I would say that, for me, that set-up was kind of a stretch – for two of three men to take the decision to have sex with a dead body, albeit a very famous one, is something you might just have to live with as an idea if you want to enjoy this movie. The necrophilia itself is not shown in the same detail as Aftermath – another Spanish film – but it's pretty clear what's going on. The question that comes after that central conceit is what to do with the body of Javi, and also the slowly awakening Anna Fritz – who could ruin both their lives with her testimonies of the murder and the abuse of her corpse. What follows is a taut and tense thriller, probably aided by its relatively short running time of 76 minutes in keeping things sharp and to the point. The unease between friends Ivan and Pau is very much evident throughout, threatening to explode on many occasions, and the plight of Anna herself – able to move only very barely – looks increasingly desperate as the movie wears on. The ending is simple but clever enough, the performances are generally pretty good and it did keep my attention all the way through. With all that said, the very idea at the heart of the movie requires a certain amount of suspension if disbelief, and it doesn't truly have the disturbingness or real impact of many of its cinematic compatriots.
RATING: 7/10. Probably unfair to expect this one to live up to some of the very best of Spanish cinema – the bar is set pretty damn high – but this was certainly a decent enough thriller that kept me wrapped up and brought some distinctly uncomfortable moment all the way through. If you're a fan of cinema from the area, or just like a slightly unsettling thriller, then The Corpse of Anna Fritz could be worth a look for you. Not unmissable but a worthwhile viewing experience.