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Morgue

It’s a horror show wherever you look, and it’s just barely October. You might as well get a head start on this month’s fear fest with Morgue, a low-budget horror from Paraguay. As much character study as jump-scare delivery system, Morgue stars Pablo Martínez as Diego, a young screw-up who drives away from a fatal accident he causes on a dark and secluded highway. Diego brushes off the incident at first, but when his job as a part-time security guard lands him a gig at the local morgue, guilt is thrust upon him by a series of unsettling apparitions. Most of the film takes place in a dreary institutional bunker, as Diego’s attempts to stay in touch with his girlfriend and the outside world are frequently interrupted by corpses that come to life to silently chide the hit-and-run driver. Decaying bodies lurch after Diego with increasing frequency, but ultimately the feat that drives Morgue is coming from inside the house—Diego’s own anxiety, which Martínez ably captures in a performance that shifts from carefree bro mode to complete mental breakdown … much like what many of us have been living through this year. Writer-director Hugo Cardozo, making his first feature, landed Paraguay’s biggest box office hit, beating out major studio horrors like It Chapter Two and Annabelle Comes Home. Morgue, making its U.S. premiere, is available to stream as part of the American Film Institute’s 31st annual Latin American Film Festival. The film is available from Oct. 2 to 7 at afisilver.afi.com. $12. —Pat Padua