Morituris Review

Movie: Morituris
By: Orlok666
Date: November 1, 2012

Those who are about to die...

An Italian horror film about gladiators coming back to life to slaughter the living? Morituris goes back to the glory days of Italian horror cinema but with a modern-day edge.

Hic Sunt Leones

Starting off with a kind of vintage found footage film you might think this film is yet another one to pile on your desk but this one sets the tone for the rest of the film: during a family picnic the little Martha is lured away from her parents by her pedophile uncle. Before he can make a move a giant gladiator shape rises behind the uncle and slays him -the little child spared, you might think. Well, you're wrong. Little Martha and her parents share the same fate as the uncle. The camera zooms in on a tombstone with the inscription ‘Hic Sunt Leones’ -Lions sleep here.


Of rave and ruin

Back to the present we meet 3 guys who picked up to foreign girls they met the evening before. The five are on their way to a rave held somewhere in a forest, all lambs ready for the slaughter. Arriving the place where the rave should be all seems quiet and nobody seems to be there yet...
It is here where things get interesting after a reasonably lengthy introduction. Picchio pushes the limits with a scene that hits you in the face. And there's no more turning back with five undead gladiators roaming the grounds.


Not for the weak

This film is quite a slap in the face and it's hard to believe first-time director Picchio pulled off something like "Morituris". It has the grittiness the old Italian exploitation cinema, the nasty shit they became well-known for. For this nasty shit Picchio attached special effects maestro Sergio Stivaletti (mostly known for his work in Italian flicks like "Demons", "Opera" and much much more) which is damn smart move: the effects are gory and realistic.
All the gladiators have distinctive looks and weapons. They are gigantic compared to their victims and with their faces hidden behind the helmets they do seem threatening even while they're slow.
The film itself looks slick and the uncomfortable feeling comes from the situations. This one isn't one that relies on creating fear. This piece of cinema turns you into a punching bag: it delivers an uppercut -and before you know what happened you're punched in the guts. And it keeps on punching.


Reclaiming the throne

I don't know why any other (Italian) director didn't came up with the idea of bringing gladiators back to life for a killing spree but I'm glad Raffaele Picchio and his crew did. Over the years it seemed Italy lost its touch of making those gritty, exploitative films that were made years ago but now with the gladiators of "Morituris" on the forefront, Italy seems ready to reclaim that throne.
Picchio, (screenplay) writers Gianluigi Perrone and Tiziano Martella created a film that takes a little while to get up to speed and sets you on the wrong foot at first half but then becomes a relentless piece of horror cinema with scenes (of abuse) that would make even some avid fans cringe. If you think you can handle that, "Morituris" comes highly recommended.

Official site: Morituris

Read the BUT Film Festival report







Raffaele Picchio






Valentina D'Andrea, Andrea De Bruyn, Désirée Giorgetti, Francesco Malcom, Giuseppe Nitti and Simone Ripanti