Tuesday 12 June 2018

Exquisite Corpse (USA 2010 Dir: Scott David Russell)

Despite the DVD distribution company rather clumsily re-dressing this movie as House of Death and pretending it dates from 2014, Exquisite Corpse was actually made back in 2010 (not to be confused with 2012's The Exquisite Corpse Project or an adaptation of the 1996 Poppy Z Brite novel of the same name), and is a bizarre retelling of Re-Animator but with a squeaky-clean cast that seem to have strayed in from old One Tree Hill episodes.

Steve Sandvoss plays Nicholas, a bright med student who is obsessed with bringing an end to death. His experiments on lab mice have so far resulted in precisely the opposite - and has a box of expired rodents to prove it - but when he accidentally sends a charge through one of them, the results, combined with a serum previously applied to the late mouse (extracted from humans at various points including orgasm and childbirth), produces the effect he was hoping for. This medical breakthrough proves extremely useful when his new girlfriend, rather pretentious artist Sophia (helium voiced Nicole Vicius) accidentally drowns while on a weekend break with Nicholas and two friends. Administering the serum Sophia is brought back to life, but it's not long before the only things she wants to eat in the refrigerator are the bags of blood that Nicholas has brought home from the lab.

Things get pretty gruesome in Exquisite Corpse but the whole thing is served up with a sheen worthy of high quality TV drama. There are some unintentionally funny sequences (Nicholas and his jock friend spouting medico-babble, and particularly Sophia's first death scene which intercuts between her thrashing in the water, Nicholas grinding coffee grounds and said jock friend and squeeze getting jiggy with it). There are attempts to classic up the dialogue, with frequent references to the state of orgasm in French (la petite mort) and not to be trusted course supervisor Dr Waldman (this film's version of Re-Animator's Dr Carl Hill) alluding to Greek drama, likening Nicholas to Orpheus and Sophia to Euridyce.

Silly as it is I found Exquisite Corpse to be far more entertaining than I was expecting. More than likely to turn up at charity shop near you sometime soon, it'll be worth at least 99 pence of your hard earneds.

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