Movies don’t start out much more high concept than Open Grave. A man wakes up in an open grave amongst a bunch of dead bodies. He climbs out and makes his way to a house near by where he meets a group of strangers. It turns out no one remembers who they are or how they got into this strange situation. Well, there is one woman who seems to know something, but she’s mute and only writes in Chinese characters so they have no idea what she’s saying. And that’s where our movie begins.
The man from the open grave is played by Sharlto Copley (District 9). He doesn’t trust any of these strangers he’s been stuck with and likewise they don’t trust him. However, they’re stuck together and need work together to figure out what’s happened to them, how they got there, where they are, and more importantly, how they’re going to survive.
As they slowly start to remember and discover the secrets of the house and the surrounding area, things get stranger and stranger. I really can’t say much more than this. I realize this is a very vague description of Open Grave, but to say more would be to ruin the experience of watching this film. I can say this, the film does a good job of playing with what the audience knows and what the individual characters know. As they begin to remember things, we are not given all this information, keeping the viewer guessing until the end.
For a genre horror film the acting is really good and it’s got great production value. I don’t know what the budget was for Open Grave, but it couldn’t have been huge. Either way, it doesn’t look low budget. Usually with genre horror, you have to put up with low budgets and mediocre acting; here you get none of that and it definitely adds to the terror and confusion of the film.
With films like this there is always the big reveal – when the audience learns what’s been going on the whole time. This is the point in the film where you get excited for what you’ve been watching or you roll your eyes and go “really?” I thought the ending of this film was pretty cool. It puts this film into a genre that I’m a big fan of, but to even tell you what that genre is would be to take away from your first viewing. Suffice to say, if you like genre horror, do yourself a favor and check out Open Grave.
The film is presented in 16:9 widescreen and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround sound. This is a pretty good looking film. A little too dark at times, but overall nothing to complain about.
You get a Behind-the-scenes featurette: (4 min.) Not very exciting.
If you like genre horror, Open Grave is a great little film to watch. It’s a very interesting and new take on something you’ve probably seen a lot of. And while I haven’t watched it a second time as of the writing of this review, I feel like even after you’ve seen it and know how it ends, Open Grave is something to watch and rewatch.
Tribeca Films presents Open Grave. Written by: Eddie Borey and Chris Borey. Directed by: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego. Starring: Sharlto Copley, Joseph Morgan, Thomas Kretschmann and Josie Ho. Running time: 102 minutes. Rating: R. Released: July 15, 2014.
Tags: Sharlto Copley