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[Glasgow FrightFest]: The Funeral

From the director of The Antenna (2019), Orçun Behram, comes The Funeral (2024), a bloody road trip movie that takes the tired horror trope of zombies and reinvents it into a strange and twisted romance that far outweighs previous zom-rom outings such as Life After Beth (2014) and Warm Bodies (2013).

The lonely and meek Cemal (played by Ahmet Rifat Sungar) is a hearse driver who is forced into secretly transporting the recently deceased corpse of a murder victim at the behest of the young woman’s family. However, shortly into his consignment, Cemal discovers that Zeynap (played by Cansu Türedi) may not be as dead as she initially presented as. What was originally meant to be a straightforward, albeit slightly suspicious, delivery of a body, becomes a grim and grisly road trip through the Turkish landscape with Cemal discovering a fondness for his flesh-eating, yet pulse-less cargo. 

If there is any subgenre of horror that deserves a bit of life breathed back into it, it's that of the zombie genre. Just like the creatures in question, the genre has become the tiniest bit stale and descended into a state of decay, yet every now and then, a zombie centric outing comes along which contributes a certain level of rejuvenation into the horror trope. The Funeral is one such movie that attempts to do something different with zombies, not just with its introduction of an occult element, but also in the heart and emotion, in the same vein of 2016’s Train To Busan. The Funeral is disturbing and gruesome, with effective visuals that are a stark contrast against the affectionate undertones of the interaction between Cemal and the zombified Zeynap. 

Despite losing slight momentum in the second act, the film is flecked with humorously quirky moments, which acts as a breather from the extreme viscera that audiences should come to expect of any zombie film worth its salt.  Yet the real strength of the film lies within the audience's inclusion of being a passenger on Cemal's journey, both physically and metaphysically, leaving viewers questioning whether Cemal's desperate loneliness has caused him to disassociate from reality and imagine a resurrected corpse as his ideal woman.

3.5 out of 5


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