Frightfest Glasgow: The Funeral (2024)

Director: Orçun Behram

Running Time: 109 Minutes

Starring: Ahmet Rıfat Şungar, Cansu Türedi, Emrah Altıntoprak, Tekin Temel, Gizem Erdem, Eren Çiğdem, Yücel Kelebekli

As writer/director Orçun Behram opens his film on a rainy day, arriving at a funeral is a hearse driven by Cemal (Ahmet Rıfat Şungar). Late one evening, the lonely driver is contacted by his employer to secretly transport a murdered young woman's body. While aware of the seemingly sketchy situation, Cemal agrees to disappear with the body for a month in return for a large amount of money. Complicating matters are the strange groans which come from the back of the vehicle, where Cemal discovers that Zeynep (Cansu Türedi) has come back to life despite not having a pulse.

When he is initially offered the job, Cemal is aware that this may be a set-up for the lonely driver to take the fall, yet that does not faze him for long. Şungar's performance effectively captures his understanding about the emptiness of his life, something which changes upon discovering Zeynep's state. She is the first person that Cemal has felt close to in ages, and that drives him to take great lengths to look after her. It begins with cleaning up the undead woman and finding her clothes to wear, although it soon escalates to feeding her his flesh, and then choosing victims to be her next meal.

While she struggles to breathe and has deathly pale skin, flickers of life remain within Zeynep. She may be unable to communicate, yet Türedi's performance speaks volumes at conveying the character's inner torment, appearing lost and remaining haunted by her trauma. Along with her co-star, the performances tremendously convey loneliness as these souls try connecting through what means they have available.

The reflective tone can work for the story, yet there are times when the pacing struggles to sustain one's attention across the 109-minute runtime. Aiding matters are the vividly realized horrors brought alive with phenomenal imagery, while glimpsing at true terrors regarding the lengths taken to maintain control. The frustration and anger built up across the film burst forth in the third-act, as the story takes quite the turn amidst a snowy location to deliver a massacre of righteous fury. The Funeral is an effective tale of lost souls helping each other through tough times.

The Funeral made its Scottish Premiere at Frightfest Glasgow 2024