KISSED - * 1/2 - Molly Parker, Peter Outerbridge, Jay Brazeau, Natasha Morley; not rated, probable R (violence, sex, nudity, profanity); exclusively at the Cineplex Odeon Broadway Centre Cinemas.

Is it possible to make a palatable film about necrophilia?Probably not. But "Kissed" gives it a go, with a surprising, matter-of-fact earnestness.

Not that the film is without humor. There are some amusing moments . . . intended, I think. And perhaps co-writer/director Lynne Stopkewich meant "Kissed" to be embraced as satire.

But the tone she takes is so deadly serious (no pun intended) that it instead develops a pretentiousness that borders on camp.

We first meet Sandra Larson as a child (Natasha Morley), while she's developing a fascination with dead animals. She buries dozens of mice, chipmunks and birds, after going through a bizarre ritual with them that includes rubbing her body with their bodies.

Then Molly Parker takes over as the teenage and adult Sandra, who works in a flower shop when she makes a delivery to the local funeral parlor and asks for a job. Later, she asks her new boss to teach her embalming and eventually takes college classes that teach her the intricacies of the human body.

She later takes up with Matt, a young medical student (Peter Outerbridge, who resembles the young Peter O'Toole), to whom she readily confesses her obsession with the dead, admitting that she sneaks into the parlor late at night to make love to the young, male bodies.

Instead of chasing Matt away, however, her confession makes him jealous, even though she doesn't tell him the most interesting part - that these sessions are tantamount to a religious experience.

Stopkewich is surprisingly nonjudgmental in her approach to the material, but it's not likely that the audience will be able to maintain the same stance.

Despite the filmmaker's attempts to be fairly discreet with much of this material - and the fact that Parker is an engaging actress - there is just no way to make this movie without exploiting the subject in an unsavory way.

The result is sick and disturbing - and sometimes disgusting.

In the end, the only question that remains is: Why would anyone make a movie like this?

Maybe we don't want to know.

"Kissed" is not rated but would receive an R for violence, sex, nudity and profanity.