PHFF 2022 Capsule Review: Nati Morti (Born Dead)

Screening for the first time in the US at Portland Horror Film Festival is the Italian horror film Nati Morti (aka Born Dead). Luna is a young embalmer obsessed with death and taxidermy. When she comes across a dead woman and an unconscious, injured man, she makes a decision that will alter both of their lives forever.

Written and directed by Alex Visani (Stomach, The Pyramid), Nati Morti is not a film for the faint of heart. In all honesty, when the film first started I thought I was not going to enjoy it. The two leads are quite demented, particularly the injured man, and they both do horrific, unspeakable things throughout the film. Yet between Visani’s writing and the performances of the two leads, Ingrid Monacelli (Stomach) as embalmer Luna and Lorenzo Lepori (Crucified) as Tony, somehow these characters are strangely endearing. Similar to films like Natural Born Killers and The Devil’s Rejects, the examination of these characters shows them in a different light that allows the audience root for them by the end of the film.

Visani wisely chose to do Nati Morti in very muted tones. The film includes a lot of well done gore and practical effects, yet the subdued color palette allows for the focus to always be the characters, even as our protagonist masturbates with human remains. There is definitely a pacing issue in the film as there is a lull in the middle, but the events taking place are bizarre enough to hold the audiences’ attention.

Nati Morti is a sentimental character study of some of the most disturbed characters to appear on film.


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