young Heather (Lesleh Donaldson) takes a summer job at her grandmother's
bed and breakfast, she finds herself in the middle of several
mysteries. At night Heather hears angry voices coming from the
basement. And some of the guests vanish before checking out.
The biggest mystery to Heather is the disappearance of Grandpa,
affectionately called Chalmers the embalmer by the locals. She's
sure the answers to all of the mysteries is somewhere in the
basement. Unfortunately for Heather, the killer is also lurking
in the cellar.
Fruet directs Funeral Home with a subtle hand. Instead
of drowning the cast and viewers in buckets of blood, Fruet
takes a much more atmospheric route (late night thunderstorms,
branches scratching on windows, a black cat following the
cast, and the old house whispering Heather's name) to generate
suspense. Ida Nelson's script captures small town life quite
nicely, but the big twist ending borrows too heavily from
another slasher film. It's a shame, really, because Funeral
Home has an engaging story until the viewer gets hit with
the "I've seen this trick before" ending.
Home's strongest attribute is the actors. Most of the
characters are just so damn likable because of the strong
performances and the familiar faces. Lesleh Donaldson is the
heart of the film. The viewer follows this innocent young
girl with pig-tails and doe eyes on a journey into a
nightmare. We want to warn her when danger is near. Kay Hawtry,
as Grandma Chalmers, supplies the backbone. Hawtry's character
has a strong moral compass and only gets stern with those
that cross those boundaries. Thank's to Hawtry's acting, Grandma
never degenerates into "mean old bitch" territory.
supporting cast is also very sharp. Alfred Humphreys is Joe,
the resident Deputy Barney Fife. Eventhough Joe is something
of a town joke, Humphreys plays him smart. Despite the ridicule
of the locals and his superiors, Joe never stops digging into
the mystery of the missing people. Harvey Atkin could have
wandered through the film with VICTIM across his forehead.
Instead, Aktin gives Joe much more depth. He's loud, flashy
in a sleazy way, and leaves the wife and kids at home so he
can spend quality time with bar tramps. Not a likable guy,
but he is a nice contrast to the laid back locals.
Home is the type of slasher that relies on story and actor
performances instead of blood and boobs. Fans of Canadian
slashers will enjoy the slasher all-star cast. Donaldson also
appears in Happy Birthday to Me and plays the ice skater
in Curtain's most terrifying sequence. Al Humphreys
is better known as the practical joker in My Bloody Valentine.
Harvey Atkin gets killed by Michael Ironside in Visiting
Hours. William Fruet went on to direct the college slasher