Dead Man Tells His Own Tale (El Muerto Cuenta su Historia) (2016) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A man who can best be described as a misogynist cheating liar finds himself undead and bound to do the biddings a coven trying to raise their goddess to take over the world.

Written by Nicolás Britos and Fabián Forte with the latter directing as well, Dead Man Tells His Own Tale sets up its lead to be despicable and dislikable, doing so very successfully and keeping that up almost throughout the entirety of the film.  Then it attempts to make the public care for him and his undead plight, something that works a lot less given that he’s still an unlikable being and still is trying to do what he always has and wanted to without much care about how it affects the people around him.  The way they build him makes it very hard to care for him.  Most of the characters built are hard to care for as most are written in a way and into situations where they do things that make them less than likable.  This creates an atmosphere of negativity that evolves towards the ending here which makes sense, but does not make this viewer want to care.

The cast does give good, unlikable performances here.  The characters being written as unlikable people, their performances reflect that quite well.  Diego Gentile as Angel, the titular dead man does a swell job of being the most despicable man in this film.  His way of doing things fits his character even though his character is not one that makes people care about him.  Here he does give a good performance assuming that he is not an asshole in everyday life.  Playing his long suffering/in denial wife is Mariana Anghileri giving some interesting pieces here and there, creating a more likable character but still not super likable.  These two performances are fairly representative of the film’s ensemble, meaning that everyone does their best and some truly good performances are found therein, but they are all working with characters dipped in negativity one way or the other.

The effects for this horror comedy are well done in general with some nicely gross practical effects and decent visual effects.  The living dead characters have some creative wounds and decay that does look good and add to the film in a way that works well in terms of both horror and comedy.  Each of these dead people has his own look and way of dying, creating different wounds and coloring to them, something that adds visual interest.

Dead Man Tells His Own Tale is a horror comedy that doesn’t really deliver.  It has some humor but a lot of it falls flat or is just not that well written.  The horror elements are light and light-hearted, making it not scary and not exactly gross.  The effects are well done and the performances work in the way that they are performed well for how they are written.  The film’s characters are pretty much all unlikable except for a rare few.  This all comes together to take a film with potential and make it a very blah experience.  The film looks good visually, but the content and message sadly get lost in a pile of negativity created by way of the aforementioned unlikable characters and their actions.

Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 13th to August 2nd.