Just Buried (2007)

(In theaters, July 2008) This Canadian-made low-budget film blew through a limited theatrical release, and that’s too bad given how well it succeeds as a very dark comedy. As a young nerdish man inherits a struggling small-town funeral home, he comes to realize, with the help of his new girlfriend, that mortal accidents are a great way to send paying clients to his business. But once you start killing people, intentionally or not, it can be hard to stop… Rose Byrne (looking a lot like Kirsten Dunst) is the film’s standout performer as a mortician with a keen interest in her job; regrettably, Jay Baruchel is saddled with a too-annoying character to be sympathetic, and the film flounders a bit on this lack of attachment. The script itself is a clever hybrid between small town comedies and disturbingly morbid plotting. At a time where “dark comedy” is labeled on just about anything, Just Buried is the real thing, a film that could have slid in outright horror with just a few tiny adjustments. Despite a few third-act problems, the film wraps up neatly with a merciless finale that ironically gives moral weight to the rest of the script. It’s definitely a low-budget independent film: even if the budget allows for a few impressive explosions and crashes, it takes chances that normally wouldn’t even be thinkable for a wider audience. If your tastes can handle murder for love and profit, well, scour the local video store for this one.

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