starring Charles Sheen, Michael Halsey and Ivana Milicevic
written by John Lowry Lamb and Robert McDonnell
directed by Albert Pyun
Charlie Sheen, calling himself “Charles Sheen” here, has not been in a major motion picture for some time now - possibly not since Shadow Conspiracy, in which he starred with Linda Hamilton and Donald Sutherland. Like many famous Hollywoodnames, he has recently fallen afoul of drug abuse and temporarily fallen out of the public limelight. Even still, if Charlie makes a public appearance in a place like Cannes, France, for the film festival the European fans still treat him like a god. Not so in the U.S., though. Until he finishes re-hab he will remain out of the movie star fast-lane.
And then there’s this film, Postmortem, that reminds us that Charlie is still a working actor, even though he has his troubles.
The man’s objective is to preserve beauty by embalming it.
Set and filmed in Glasgow, Scotland, Sheen plays McGregor, an ex-California homicide detective (of Scottish descent) who left the San Franciscopolice force and ran away to far away Glasgowto escape the lingering horrors of he last and final case.
Alas, murder won’t let him alone, and he becomes involved with Glasgow police investigating a series of gruesome ritual murders of young women there.
At first police suspect McGregor is the killer. He’s a stranger in town, a famous murder investigator (and therefore a person with knowledge of how best to conceal a crime), and he is an obvious, washed-up drunk.
But as it turns out the real killer is a former funeral home worker, a young man who meets his victims at the funerals of other relatives, and then sets about stalking them, abducting them and killing them in a most pathological manner. The killer dispatches his victims by injecting them with embalming fluid - usually a post-mortem or “after death” procedure. Hence the title of the film. The killer keeps his women alive while he toys with them by periodically forcing them to inhale a powerful anesthetic. While the women are asleep he removes their clothes, washes their bodies, repeatedly applying anesthetic when they wake up. Finally, he injects the deadly fluid and leaves the bodies, nude, in a public place, frozen by rigor mortis into some esthetic pose.
No sexual assault takes place, and although the attack is lethal it is not gratuitously violent. The man’s objective, it seems, is to preserve beauty by embalming it.
It’s a slow movie to get into, but once you recognize what is happening the story develops more quickly and the suspense builds more and more. Filmed on location in Scotland, you get to see some really beautiful Scottish countryside - low, rocky, craggy mountains, glaciated landscapes, dull-gray skies and lush greenery.
Written by John Lowry Lamb and Robert McDonnell, Postmortemis a moderately successful explora tion of the dark pathologies of the human animal. Not as great or successful as some other movies - for example, Silence of the Lambs (Jodie foster and Anthony Hopkins). You could give Postmortem a miss in favor of something better.