TALES FROM SIX FEET UNDER * USA 2020 Dir: Nicholas Michael Jacobs. 47 mins
A lifeless horror anthology from the writer / director / star of URBAN FEARS and NIGHT, with underwhelming stories loosely linked by a cadaverous graveyard dweller wandering around a cemetery, noting the fates of certain occupants. Like URBAN FEARS, these “tales” all share an abundance of tedious characters talking to themselves while they stare at their phones. Yep, if there’s a form of 21st century communication that lends itself to cinematic horror and suspense, it surely is the thrilling art of text messaging. The first story follows an obnoxious kid who finds a Ouija board in his basement, phones his friend for advice after failing to summon the dead (candles are the key, apparently) and then freaks out unconvincingly when messages start coming through : “This cannot be happening! This is fake!” In the second episode, a bored / boring med student gets wind of a meteor heading to Earth while crime alerts on his phone (more text-based, Smart phone action!) reveal a stabby assailant on the loose nearby. You get some blood splattering on the walls and perhaps even less atmosphere than the preceding story. Finally, a young girl on her birthday is stalked by text (yes, ladies and gents, it’s what you asked for: more Messenger action!!) and the story takes a long time to deliver its embarrassingly naff joke-shop-style punchline. The best we can say about these “tales” – unfolding in black and white for some reason – is that they hoover up around half the running time of a typical feature film. But that’s still enough time for you to watch two episodes of “What We Do In The Shadows” instead. Or stare pointlessly at your phone.
Review by Steven West