The Gravedancers (2006) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
127 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
4/10
Watchable but nothing special.
Paul Andrews20 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Gravedancers starts as three close friends Harris McKay (Dominic Purcell), Kira Hayden (Josie Maran) & Sid Vance (Marcus Thomas) mourn the death of friend Devin Lansing who was buried earlier that day. For some reason Sid suggests that they all go to the cemetery, break in with lots of booze, sit around their Lansing's grave & get drunk which Harris & Kira surprisingly agree to. While at the cemetery Sid notices a note & starts to read it as Harris & Kira randomly dance around on graves while drunk. Two weeks later & the three friends are experiencing supernatural phenomenon, they see ghost's who try to attack them & notice things moving on their own & general spooky stuff. Sid contacts paranormal investigator Vincent Cochet (Tchéky Karyo) who quickly realises that they are dealing with a bad case of burial desecration, with the vengeful spirits of an arsonist, a axe murderer & a rapist trying to kill them Harris, Sid & Kirra must lay the ghost's to rest before it's too late...

Directed by Mike Mendez this was one of the so-called Films to Die For at the 2006 After Dark Horrorfest or whatever it's called along with the likes of Wicked Little Things (2006), Unrest (2006) & Penny Dreadful (2006) & isn't the worst of the bunch but The Gravedancers isn't the best either, as a straight supernatural horror film it's watchable enough but it's by means any sort of masterpiece. The script is a mixed bag really, the tone is very serious & I just couldn't get over how three grieving friends would break into a cemetery in the middle of the night & get drunk while dinging & dancing, you know I just didn't buy it & these are supposed to be adults with one a respected lawyer. The first hour or so of The Gravedancers is quite slow, doors open by themselves, the pet Cat goes mental & strange noises are heard but it's all pretty standard dull haunted house horror stuff. Then the final thirty odd minutes is a roller-coaster of effects & set-pieces as we get rotting zombie ghost's, possession, an obvious plot twist, giant screaming ghost heads, & fires popping up all over the place as it feels like the makers wanted to cram as much in as they could during the last thirty minutes to compensate for the none event of the first sixty. To be fair to it The Gravedancers is alright, sure there are elements of Poltergeist (1983) & any Japanese-Asian ghost horror you can name but it's watchable & it competent if not amazing.

Ther's not much gore here, there's a cool slit throat & some blood splatter but nothing else really, the body count is low & all the death's happen during the final twenty minutes except one during a seemingly unconnected opening sequence that was included against the director's wishes apparently. The special effects are pretty good actually, the giant screaming ghost face that chases Harris & Alison through the house is actually quite impressive. While the first hour or so goes for suspense & cheap scares the final thirty minutes goes all out for spectacle, as I said it's just rather uneven & why didn't they dance on graves belonging to nice people?

Probably shot on a low budget this was apparently meant as the start of a trilogy & the script was around as early as 1999 but didn't get made until 2005. Filmed in Greensboro in North Carolina. Apparently the actor's didn't meet each other until two days before filming, while it's not great I have seen worse acting I suppose.

The Gravedancers is an alright supernatural haunted house horror that has obvious influences, the whole story is silly yet it takes itself very seriously which gives it an odd vibe. Worth watching as a cheap rental or if you can catch it on telly for free but otherwise you can easily skip this one.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Fine Low-Budget Supernatural Horror.
Mr_Ectoplasma8 April 2007
"The Gravedancers", one of the 8 Films To Die For at the After Dark Horrorfest, is a surprisingly original little supernatural horror movie. The film centers around three long-time friends - Kira, Sid, and Harris. After their close friend dies, Kira and Harris show up for the funeral, and later meet up with Sid, who decided not to attend it. Wanting to say goodbye, Sid convinces them to go out to the graveyard with him, where things get out of hand after the three have been drinking, and they ultimately end up dancing around the cemetery on some graves. Unfortunately for them, they danced upon the graves of just about the worst people possible - and soon find themselves haunted by the ghosts of a child pyromaniac, a woman who killed her lover with an axe, and a sadistic sexual murderer who was the town judge. They decide to seek help in two parapsychologists, and try and survive until the curse ends - but can they?

Definitely one of the better films to be part of the After Dark Horror Fest, "The Gravedancers" is a pretty original movie that captures the style of '70s and '80s supernatural horror films. Storywise, I thought it was pretty unique. The entire idea of desecrating someone's grave and having the spirit come back to haunt you is unique, and the first time I've seen something like it done in the genre. The writing is pretty good here, and the movie was entertaining and significantly thrilling at times. It plods a bit in areas, but during the last thirty minutes things really kick in. There are a few typical scare moments in the movie though (and there are some clichés that abound), but for the most part I thought this film at least tried to avoid most of the clichéd horror set-ups, which was a real benefit here. There is actually some really scary substance here, and I was genuinely spooked by some scenes in this film. The director took good advantage of those "things that go bump in the night" kind of scares, and they are effectively used and really creepy.

As far as the acting goes, it isn't bad. Could have been more convincing I suppose, but I thought everyone gave competent performances. Dominic Purcell (of TV's "Prison Break") is our main lead, and Clare Kramer ("Bring It On" and TV's "Buffy The Vampire Slayer") plays his wife. The acting isn't bad, it's a little bit lacking on some occasions, but overall good enough. The only real complaint I have is the special effects used in the film. The strange thing about this is that they are really good in some scenes, but in others just not. The incarnations of the ghosts are leaning on the corny side, mainly because of the facial makeup (grinning teeth, large eyes - something that almost looks like a Halloween mask). I think a more subtle make up would have been more realistic. And the CGI blowout during the last ten minutes of the film was a little overdone I felt, but I'm not going to complain too much, I'd rather just take this movie for what it is.

Overall, "The Gravedancers" is a horror movie that is worth watching. It delivers a fairly original story and some really nice scares, which are always welcome. In some respects it's a bit corny (mostly with it's special effects usage), but the film is done in a style that is reminiscent of past horror films, so these things are forgivable considering that it's a throwback-type of movie. I'm assuming the budget for this film was pretty modest as well, and taking that into consideration, this movie was pretty well done. Worth a look for horror fans. 7/10.
33 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
I Spit on Your Grave...Dancers
The_Void19 October 2008
Well, this film is often regarded as one of the better entries in the 'Eight Films to Die For' sets; but I wasn't very impressed with it. Sure, it has a handful of good points; but unfortunately the film is not particularly original or interesting and that ultimately condemns it. The film does feature a starring role for Dominic Purcell; who apparently is a star of a TV program called Prison Break, which I've never watched. So I guess that a lot of Prison Break fans have given this film a high rating. Anyway, the plot focuses on three people that used to be friends and have reunited for the funeral of another friend, who died (obviously). Anyway, the three of them go out and get drunk and then decide (as you do) to go to a graveyard, where they read an incantation from one of the gravestones and then proceed to dance on the graves. This might not have been such a bad idea if it wasn't for the fact that they were in the 'psycho section'. Anyway, it turns out that the dead don't appreciate having their graves danced on; and the three are terrorised by vengeful spirits.

Credit where credit is due; and it's due in the case of whoever designed the ghosts. Like most people, I'm tired of the Japanese style watery black haired ghosts, and the common smoke-like spectres that have featured all too often. For this film, the ghosts look more like something out of The Evil Dead (and possibly took some influence from the final chapter of the Mario Bava masterpiece Black Sabbath) and they really do look horrific. They're mostly well used too, and while the film goes way over the top on many occasions; it does feature a few jump scares that work well. However, the simple fact is that the story and characters just aren't interesting enough and the reason behind what is happening to the central characters lacks imagination. I have to admit that I didn't really care about anything that went on with the plot of this film and things only got less interesting when the whole ghost hunter plot was introduced. It all boils down to a silly ending and overall, while I really did like the special effects, this is a disappointing horror film and I do not recommend it.
12 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
scaaaaaaaaaaared!
there-we-go7 November 2006
This movie reminds me of why I am not the biggest fan of the horror genre…because I always end up with my muscles tensed up for two hours and I sit on the edge of my seat and am left feeling completely exhausted. This is one of the freakiest movies I've seen in a really long time, if not ever, and I didn't even watch it alone at night or anything. Anyway, the story is pretty interesting…a group of college friends reunite after a few years and accidentally call upon some spirits of the dead that end up haunting them after a fateful night in the cemetery. One of the haunted individuals contacts a pair of ghost hunters that specialize in paranormal events. In an attempt to document the "happenings" of the haunted three, the paranormal specialists discover the reason behind the creepy happenings—which start out relatively minor with sounds and whispers and voices and escalate into much more intense phenomenons—and try to find a way to put an end to the cycle. The appearance of these spirits is the effing FREAKIEST thing I've ever seen and the image of their faces is going to haunt me for a couple days. Unfortunately, the end of the movie didn't quite do it for me. It was going really great actually until the story and visual effects went a little over-the-top in the last two minutes. However, as the movie hits its climax toward the end, I was quite impressed with how they took the plot into completion. If you have any desire at all to be totally freaked out, definitely go see Gravedancers. It's pretty bizarre and discomforting and personally, I was scared.
62 out of 95 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
This is no masterpiece but it supplies enough scares to make it a worthwhile watch
K_Todorov5 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The name "The Gravedancers" sounds way too much like something coming out from the 80s low budget b-movie horror era. With its absurd plot and not so strong characters. But it still succeeds in creating some nice scenes where the viewer feels at least a bit unease.

The story is about a group of childhood friends who reunite after several years for the funeral of one of their pals. After a night of drinking they return to the cemetery in order to pay proper respect to their dead friend. On his grave they find a weird letter, written to sound as a "celebration of life". Our unlucky heroes while under the effects of alcohol naturally decide to begin chanting and dancing (on the graves) thus unleashing a trio of ghosts that begin terrorizing their lives.

There are several problems with the script. Besides the corny outline. There is the problem regarding the characters, more specifically there are several situations throughout the film that feel underdeveloped and possibly left unexplained. Such as for example, the presence of one of the leads wife. With her being out of danger, why did her husband still kept her around thus putting her at risk of being killed? This lack of providing solid reason is one that becomes very familiar in the movie. The characters themselves are nothing new we haven't seen before, their lines are monotonous and boring but not horribly acted. Indeed the performances are fairly decent and the actors could've done even better had they had a better script to work with.

The one thing this movie does good comes in terms of setting up an atmosphere and creating some nice jumping moments. For once instead of just remaking it, an western director has decided to employ a similar style to that of the more commercial successful Asian horror movies (Ringu, Dark Water etc. etc.). There are some very nice scenes that keep the viewer on the edge. The effects are nothing to brag about but still reasonably well done considering the not so high budget. Keeping to its corny name the ending looks like something out of a cheesy over the top horror movie, but by this point the final conclusions are already made so it doesn't really ruin the experience.

"The Gravedancers" is unlikely to cause any shift on the current direction of American horror movies but it is still a nice change from the never ending wave of remakes and weak teen slashers that over-flood our screens.
24 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Old school terror, the way it should be
Craig McPherson16 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There can be no surer sign that a horror movie is hitting its mark when your friend whispers that the film's going to give him a heart attack. Such was the case during the screening of Mike Mendez's The Gravedancers at the 2006 edition of Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival.

Starring Prison Break's Dominic Purcell and Clare Kramer (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) the story revolves around the couple whose lives, along with those of their friends, are invaded by a trio of hostile ghosts after they engage in a drunken bout of gravedancing during a wake for an old chum.

The movie is chalk full of horror delights which, while blatant clichés, work wonderfully under Director Mendez's remarkably talented hand.

Drawing on influences such as The Entity, The Haunting of Hell House, and Poltergeist, The Gravedancers hits the pavement running with a gripping opening scene. Mendez quickly slows things down enough to build plot and characters, only to have the film pick up steam in the second act and never look back.

Mendez doesn't take long to ratchet up the atmospheric tension as things literally start to go bump in the night. Doors creek open by unseen hands. Pianos begin playing by themselves, disembodied voices are heard, shadows flit by, all to great effect. As explained by a pair of paranormal investigators (French actor Tchéky Karyo and Dawson Creek's Megahn Perry), the malevolent ghosts have one lunar cycle to extract their revenge for being pulled back to this dimension, and will grow stronger and more violent with each passing night.

I was particularly impressed by the film's makeup effects, which are some of the most horrific I've seen in decades. Mendez deployed an old-school approach by eschewing CGI (with the exception of one scene) in favor of makeup, prosthetics, and green screen matting effects, all of which render an impressively scary result.

Sure the movie isn't without its flaws. For one thing, I found the ending a bit over the top and in need of restraint. However Mendez did such a great job getting me to that point that I can easily forgive him. It's hard to make a perfect movie, and in comparison to others, the flaws in The Gravedancers are comparably minor.

If you're a horror fan, keep an eye out for this title. It's too early to tell if the studio will give it a cinematic release, or if it will go directly to DVD, but either way, you won't go wrong plunking your butt down for this one. Just make sure you're wearing clean undies.
48 out of 78 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Best Horror flick in a long time!
sctt_depalma18 November 2006
Back to old school horror. Scares were simple and effective. We were lucky enough to catch Gravedancers and were very excited when we left the theatre. The ghosts were genius with the simple effects stimulating. Dominic Purcell seemed to reel things in with his acting whenever the story seemed like it could of gotten ridiculous. He asks the questions you have as the audience to almost eliminate any disbelief. An excellent return to the "old school" zombie figures that have scared in the past. Hopefully scare movies will take from this movie the return to figures instead of little children crawling out of TV's or walking across the room. I hope a big response from viewers is heard and this movie releases nationally. Great flick and good fun.
31 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Good candidate for worst ever
realblades15 June 2009
I saw this based on some positive reviews just in case it really was a more serious movie that wasn't based on blood and gore like most "horror" today. Well, there wasn't much blood. The "impressive" ghosts were roughly leftover props and effects from "Ghostbusters", the plot was barely noticeable and they found the most annoying actor available for the male lead. Well, maybe it did match the character. And the "twist" wasn't too overplayed. Barely competent work but pointless and tasteless.

It does deserve some kind of award for the most ludicrous title ever, though.
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Great scares, great laughs. Not to be taken too seriously, but you will have a blast.
Warning: Spoilers
The Gravedancers 2005 (Theatrical "R", After Dark Horrorfest) – Directed by Mike Mendez

After a solemn funeral, 3 friends, Harris, Kira, and Sid, decide to visit the graveyard, read a curse from a card on a tombstone, and then dance on 3 graves. The 3 ghosts then come back to torture their respective dancers for a month after which they will be "put to rest".

Where to start? This film is an odd mixture of clichéd ghost scares and laugh out loud bizarre scenes, while also supplying one of the scariest images I have seen in years. The plot, characters, and dialogue are wildly uneven and rarely make any sense. The haunting starts off slow and boring with the run of the mill scares such as loud plumbing, strange voices, and a piano that plays by itself. But just when I was about to nod off, they come at me with one of the scariest ghosts I have ever seen. (It was this image in the trailer that made this my must-see pick for the Horrorfest).

The 3 friends decide to meet up with paranormal experts who then figure out that they desecrated burial grounds, unleashed a curse, and must find a way to reverse it. Each of the 3 friends is stalked by their own ghost from the "Condemned" lot of the graveyard. Harris & wife Allison are stalked by the ghost of a woman who axe murdered her lover and his wife. Friend Sid is stalked by a child pyromaniac. And Kira, the unluckiest of the bunch, is stalked by a serial murderer/rapist/torturer.

What really makes this film worthwhile is the final showdown in the house with all 3 ghosts attacking at once. Again, the axe murdering ghost gives a horrific performance that had me pressed hard against my seat and clutching my jacket tight. I recommend seeing the film just for this part alone.

The film then culminates into one of the goofiest resolutions ever put on celluloid. The audience was howling with laughter. A hummer driving through 5 walls in a building? Check. A gigantic head chasing people? Check. Throwing skulls like footballs? Double Check.

Overall, the SFX varied at times. In some spots, the blood and bruises looked realistic, but there were some unbelievable CGI moments. Also, I noticed the wire spots where the ghost was hanging from in some scenes.

Favorite Quote: When a woman gets her throat slit open, squirts blood, and dies, the woman next to her says, "I think she's losing too much blood."

Bottom Line: Great scares, great laughs. Not to be taken too seriously, but you will have a blast.

Rating: 8/10

Molly Celaschi www.HorrorYearbook.com MySpace.com/HorrorYearbook
15 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Great ghost movie but the ending was a HUGE letdown
atinder17 August 2009
I saw the DVD cover, normally when there a good DVD cover the movie is not that good, so I didn't think this movie will be any good or scary.

The story two men and Girl go to a graveyard at night after there friends funeral and they start to drinking and dancing on graves.

Then not long after, strange things start to happen as the Doors are opening and shutting and piano is playing while no in the room They soon find out that each one of them are being haunted by ghost because they were dancing on there grave but worse is that they have danced on grave of Insane people.

This is really good movie, It's the best movie to watch by your self in the Dark, the movie did make me Jump which was Great and did like how the movie start of when we could not see the ghost, it was more creepy as we don't when it will attack, also did like the ghost in movie were really scary looking too.

A really good scary ghost story movie with great acting too but the ending did the let the whole movie down.

I give this movie 8/10
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
horror fest
rivertam2619 November 2006
Mike Mendez's follow up to his kick butt movie The Convent is a mixed bag of tricks. some work, some don't. Gravedancers tells the creative and original story of a group of friends reunited by a funeral. On the night of the occasion they get drunk and accidentally dance on some graves releasing the evil spirits in the wrong side of the cemetery. The spirits of a rapist/murderer, a pyre maniac and another murderer. The friends are haunted by these ghosts according to the curse for a month. And as the month comes to a close the paranormal attacks become stronger and stronger as the ghosts try to take the people with them. It's an intriguing concept and much fun is to be had with it. The performances are all decent, the story is creative and the movie is a little slow at the start but is wildly inventive and macabre once it gets going. Everything in the film is done with a winking eye so you can appreciate the film without feeling to guilty about it. The makeup is cartooned and freaky while the cgi is a little fake looking but an understandable necessity with a low budget especially in a film of this caliber. My main gripes however don't come with the film, it's more with the way it was released. You know i didn't mind shelling out 9.50 for this movie but I'm mad as heck that the film's sound transfer was messed up and sounded mono, and the film quality was amateur looking. It wasn't even fine tuned or polished by After Dark. what could've been delightfully freakish come across humorously because of the films lighting. It's dreadfully bright which kind of kills the suspense of a horror flick. The film looks like a rough cut and should have been really touched up before getting a theatrical release. Because they had a good product but ruined it with no effort at all. This doesn't bode well for their film company or the continuing success of a festival of this sorts. But in conclusion I would just like to say although not on the par of a worthy theatrical release this is definitely worth a look on DVD.
16 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
A Cut Above Average Low Budget Horror Flick
dean290011 February 2007
Let me first state that this had a amateur feel to it. However, keeping in mind that it is a horror movie, it much better than 90% of the direct to video garbage out there.

The movie uses a combo to makeup effects and CGI to create the most out of the obvious limited budget. I appreciated the makeup effects more than the CGI gone mad conclusion of the movie.

The acting was tolerable and the side story about the friends honestly didn't bring much to the table. The fact that the ghost story actually had some creepy moments as well as funny moments.

I gave the movie 6 out of 10 which is high for me for this type of production. The bottom line is while the movie has the drawbacks that I listed above, it is still a entertaining horror flick. If you like horror or supernatural thrillers then you could do much worse.
19 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
A pleasingly spooky and unsettling supernatural horror chiller
Woodyanders6 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Three old college friends -- mature Harris (Dominic Purcell), happy-go-lucky Sid (Marcus Thomas) and sultry Kira (the lovely Josie Maran) -- are reunited at the funeral of a fellow college chum. After the funeral they all sneak into a cemetery at night, get drunk, read a sinister incantation poem, and dance on several graves. The trio unwittingly resurrect the deadly spirits of a lethal axe murderess, a deranged child pyromaniac and a vicious, depraved rapist who proceed to haunt them for an entire month. If the ghosts aren't laid back to rest right away, they will grow increasingly stronger and more dangerous as the month progresses. Director Mike Mendez gradually develops a truly creepy and unnerving atmosphere with great skill and conviction prior to pulling out all the stirring stops in the rousing and hair-raising final third. The three leads all give fine and appealing performances; they receive bang-up support from Clare Kramer as Harris' sweet wife Allison, Tcheky Karyo as eccentric paranormal investigator Vincent and Megahn Perry as Vincent's cute spunky assistant Culpepper. The cadaverous skull-faced ghouls are genuinely freaky and frightening. David A. Armstrong's smooth, gloomy cinematography, the admirably serious and sincere tone, Joseph Bishara's eerie score, the well-drawn and engaging main characters, and the excellent special effects further enhance the overall sound quality of this very solid and satisfying supernatural horror shocker.
10 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
8 Films to Die For Horror Fest Reviews .4: Gravedancers
ChiefGoreMongral25 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Gravedancers is a tale of two films. The first part is a real creepy ghost story that tells the tale of a group of 3 friends that have lost one of their own friends to death. Later after the funeral proceedings have ended the 3 of them decide to go back to their friend's grave and drink some final toasts to him. While they are their one of them discovers a mysterious letter is left on their friend's grave that one of them reads out loud and after a few too many brew-skies they begin to turn up the music and as the title states, grave dance.

Thinking that nothing has happened they soon realize that their lives have been forever altered as each one has borough home the spirits of 3 individuals that when alive were not among the town favorites. One a sadomasochistic womanizer,another a vengeful woman and last but not least a pyromaniac child, real nice people to bring back from the dead. As the movie progresses we go through some jump scares here and there and the film really seems to be coming together,until the last act.

For some however the second act will bring its detractors as the final confrontation with the Gravedancing Trio and the spirits turns a tad silly especially a grand finale which features a nearly Two Story Tall Giant P'ed Off Ghosthead (you read that right)that tears its way through a mansion to try to get to one of our characters. Unfortunately it really seemed out of place especially considering what suspense was built up in the first act of the film. Saying that however the parts leading up to "Ghostzilla" did not disappoint me as we do get to see some really nice creature/ghost effects before that questionable Giant Head sequence. The ghosts looked really creepy and added some nice freaky touches.

In the end even though the movie is uneven it does entertain. Those who are creep-ed out by ghost stories will be creep-ed out with this one for the most part but when the final act hits those creep-ed out by its beginning and creature effects will probably be scratching their head in wonder about that darn floating head. In the end there is far more positives than negatives and is a nice little niche cult horror flick. I give Gravedancers a solid; 6/10: Above average. If the tone would have continued and the Giant Floating head and a cheesy "3 point shot" sequence would have been scrapped for an alternate ending this one would have definitely been a total experience. Still those in the mood for a fun creepy at times ghost story with some genuinely eerie ghosts this is a must see, just keep your expectations in check.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
About as scary as a Scooby Doo cartoon...in reruns...
MichaelLibinAP12 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I can't believe this video was included in the "After Dark" horror package--8 Films To Die For. Every film was exceptionally good, despite low budgets and zero star power. This mess was horrific--but for all of the wrong reasons. I've seen better acting in high school plays, the plot grew more absurd by the minute, the "creature effects" looked like a grade school papier-mache art project...and I'm still trying to figure out if a central character's resemblance to Thelma in "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" was intentional or an unfortunate boo boo. Speaking of "boo boo", kids in bedsheets are scarier than this recycled mish-mash of "don't disrespect the graves" melodrama.

(Spoiler ahead!) And, can we talk about about the plot holes the size of a Buick? First of all, Allison didn't dance on any graves, so why were the spirits out to get her? Second, if the house (at the end) was completely enclosed in iron fencing, how did Allison escape through the window? And why was there a "Cheerwine" vending machine in the house?! Not to mention half a jaw was left unburied at the film's end...negating the "happily ever after" ending.

Yikes! Skip this film and rent the other 7--they are excellent--particularly "Reincarnation".
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Excellent
jamesmcsloy18 December 2006
Okay, I've just watched this and I thought it was amazing. I loved it. Yeah some of the CG is cheesy, and some of the acting is ham, but nearly every movie you watch these days is.

This film has an excellent script, with characters that, well I did, you like. The plot of the tale is well executed and the suspense that the director has put into the movie is top notch. This is how horror film should be produced. This is a creepy, atmospheric horror which doesn't feature teens running around screaming. I advise any true horror fan to go out and give it ago, especially any old school horror fans.

Jimbo
13 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
How can anyone like this?
Jacques983 September 2008
Even the director himself admits that his movie wasn't that great—sometimes he even compares it to a joke. I'm here to say it outright sucked, even for an indie film.

The opening scene was solid and probably the best scene in the movie. After that, you're thrust into cliché after cliché. It reminded me of those old kid's books/mini-movies, Goosebumps, but without the solid plot structure. Honestly, some of them have better plotting and stories than this. This is nothing but pure traditional horror than your grandparents enjoyed, but it isn't scary or have any true horror to it.

I respect and like the director after hearing his commentary. And it would be a lie to say there aren't some nifty death/scare scenes. But the story and the flow suck, even for amateur filmmakers. Look up Mike Mendez when he makes his next movie—avoid this one with your life unless it's free to watch on TV.
10 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Nice change of pass
agreigboy18 November 2006
I didn't know what to expect from the so called horror fest this weekend but I liked the trailer for The Grave Dancers so I picked this one to go see at the theater. I liked the way the movies characters both live and ghostly inter acted together and how the story moved and flowed through different characters' personal issue. The film had really good make up and the camera work and shooting was a real eye opener. It was well done. The story at times was predictable at times but the last few scenes really kicks it into high geared as the ghosts let it be known that they are not happy and become completely visible. At times it was a actually funny but I like to be positive and not just trash films because you have to have a level of respect for anyone who creates a film and gets it into a theater of any kind. I did like the fact that the writers didn't feel they needed to be a complete gore slasher type film, so often now blood and guts is king and I don't always need to see all that if it isn't needed to pull off the story. I recommend this film to anyone looking for a good horror type film that doesn't have to have blood coming from all angles to make you feel a little spooked.
10 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
The Best Ghost Imagery in a Horror Movie
bonnie9113 January 2007
It was unbelievable how much I enjoyed this movie! As the plot summary already reveals, it's basically about ghosts, but those ghosts are about the scariest looking things I've ever seen! Too bad they aren't shown for longer. That's my one major gripe about this film: the ghosts needed more scream... oops, sorry... screen time! Another small gripe is that the filmmakers kind of dropped the ball there at the end with some sloppy special effects, but the entertainment factor for Gravedancers is off the charts, which totally made up for that! Don't miss it! I saw this one at Horrorfest and am already drooling over the possibilities of being able to purchase a complete 2006 Horrorfest DVD box set. I don't know how they're planning to market the DVDs, but anything less than a box set would not do all the awesome entries to this great event justice, plus I'm sure a lot of us didn't get the chance to see all of them at our local theaters.

And please keep supporting R-RATED HORROR MOVIES with your patronage! It actually looks like the movie producers and directors out there are listening to us. The year 2006 was a great year for ADULT horror, and I'm sure that this year it'll just keep getting better!
17 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
I really wanted to like this.
TheGreatBeyond28 April 2006
Saw the premiere at Tribeca. Was really hoping to love it. Forgave the first onslaught of horror clichés, writing them off as elements of horror movie tradition, but as they wore endlessly on, so did my patience. The director (Mike Mendez) should be praised for doing what he could with an abominable script, mediocre actors, and laughable makeup & effects. The atmosphere was genuinely creepy and the photography very good. However, Mendez overused the clichéd "Creepy music building to a benign startle" and "Eerie silence punctuated by loud startling noise" ad nauseum. Get a new gimmick. Overall, I would be excited to see what Mendez would do with a better script and cast, a larger budget, and the confidence to rely on atmosphere and story rather than cheap scares.
19 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
The Gravedancers
Scarecrow-882 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"O Fool, O Lout, O Fortunate one The Dead now mocked, their time has come. Heed these words for souls do roam, And though be dead follow you home. It's rage will swell as nights grow bright, Despair and fear, this fatal plight. From moon to moon, you'll have this guest, To seal thy fate and lay you to rest."

Three college pals mourning a recent chum's passing, dance around graves reciting a poem left at his grave-site while heavily drunk to champagne. What they do not realize is that each individual grave danced upon while reciting that poem unleashes their vengeful, evil spirit. The poem declares what they can do to those who free them and this flick shows it as Harris(Dominic Purcell, the star of the hit Fox series, PRISON BREAK), Kira(the lovely Josie Maran), Sid(Marcus Thomas)are haunted as the spirits grow stronger from day to day. The three(actually four because Harris' beautiful, tenderhearted wife Allison, played effectively by Clare Kramer, is haunted as well)enlist the aid of parapsychologist Vincent(Tchéky Karyo, a welcome veteran presence in the cast)and his assistant Culpepper(Megahn Perry)to find the clues about who each ghost is terrorizing them and how to properly outwit them before death becomes the only other alternative. Kira, found wounded and bloodied by Harris and Allison, has already found out all too well what her ghost can do..she awaits in a hospital trying to recuperate, but can not when even there she is attacked while a nurse is thrown across the room for just being around her. Harris and Sid show Vincent what grave each danced upon and through some heavy research each dead person is identified. Harris danced on the grave of a school teacher who killed her lover and his wife with an ax which might explain why Allison is being haunted as well. Kira's grave holds what appeared to be a church-going judge, but instead he was, behind closed doors, a sadomasochistic torturer with a dead body in his basement. Sid's grave was of a little boy who loved playing with fire..he wasn't an innocent, however as the boy burned his entire family alive with the fire consuming him, also.

So the rest of the flick shows how Harris, his wife Allison, Kira, and Sid try to survive the onslaught of supernatural attacks that come their way. It is found through documentation from a past case where one survived their encounter with such a resurrected evil ghost through re-burying the bones of the one whose grave was danced upon. You see, the gravedancer has one month to outlast the ghost he brought back, and through the reburial of bones will halt the curse. But, for some peculiar reason(..found out tragically later), the new burial of the bagged bones of each body doesn't work with each person still receiving attacks by the spirits. It will all come to a head when they hole up at Vincent and Culpepper's massive mansion compound, set up to capture supernatural phenomena. This very professionally made ghost tale, competently directed by Mike Mendez, works more in the vein of THE HAUNTING. It shows spooky goings-on and saves the real grisly violence for the climax in the mansion at the end. The cast is decent. The cinematography is top-notch. Rather derivative with a whiff of deja vu, but works surprisingly well despite all that. Builds and builds until the special effects-laden showdown when the characters try their best to escape the mansion which is sealed off by a steel gate forced into the compound by the powerful spirits who can also cause the chosen victim to hallucinate(..not to mention, they are stronger than those they haunt often tossing even the beefy Purcell across the room as if he was light as a feather).
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Not As "GRAVE" As It Sounds, But Still Entertaining...
Christopher T. Chase20 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is the second HORRORFEST film I saw, this time during the 'Encore Nights', (the other was UNREST). I already knew what to expect from having seen the previews on the website, so in spite of the presence of one of my favorite B-movie actors, Tcheky Karyo, and the fact that I am a rabid PRISON BREAK fan, (so you know when Dominic Purcell popped up, I was already breaking out the credit card at MovieTickets.com), I didn't go in with extremely high expectations. I expected to see something probably at about the "Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie" level. However, I was surprised that THE GRAVEDANCERS does climb a few notches above that, thanks to some nifty special effects, better than your average low-budget horror indie.

The story reaches back into the past to dig up a few good scares, culling from such classics as 13 GHOSTS and THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, then going a bit further with scenes that are very similar to parts of THE ENTITY, THE CHANGELING, THE EXORCIST and the EVIL DEAD movies. There's even a nod or two here to Italian horror by directors like Argento and Fulci, only with the gore factor toned WAY down.

Three college friends: Harris McKay (Purcell), Sid Vance (Marcus Thomas) and Harris's old flame, Kira (Josie Maran) have all gathered for the funeral of a fourth buddy from the 'old days'. Sid urges the group to return to the cemetery after the funeral to give their compadre a more informal farewell. When Sid finds a mysterious card on their friend's grave, he reads the poem inside aloud, something which exhorts them to celebrate their friend's life - not by mourning, but by dancing - which they do after way too much cheap booze...on some surrounding graves.

Two weeks afterward, the crap hits the fan. Harris's wife, Allison (Clare Kramer) starts seeing things and hearing strange noises in their house. The sightings and the things going 'bump' in the night (AND in the daytime!) start to intensify, and it's then that Harris and Allison discover that they're not alone...Weird things are happening with Kira and Sid, too, and Kira suffers the worst of it (you'll have to see how - it's one of the movie's creepier scenes.)

Two parapsychologists come to the group's aid from the local university: Vincent (Karyo) and his assistant, Culpepper (Meghan Perry). But when they finally diagnose the hauntings, the news isn't good. The card Sid found was a reworked version of a gravedancing curse that really pisses off the spirits of those whose graves were desecrated, and within a month's time, the culprits will be "laid to their rest" by the avenging spirits. The remainder of THE GRAVEDANCERS chronicles how the group attempts to break the curse before it's too late for all of them.

I am willing to give any low-budget movie credit for at least trying to entertain, and this one really does go for it. Brad Keene and Chris Skinner's script is hardly the most original tale in the world, but it does take elements of horror, usually done as really bad clichés, and tries to put a brand new spin on them. I certainly find that commendable, at a time when flayed skin and shredded body parts are what's passing for plotting in most horror films these days.

Mike Mendez certainly does know his scary movies, because I could see some of the more "obvious" scares coming from a mile off. But that's just me. People who don't usually patronize this genre will probably have a lot of frightful fun. There are a couple of 'jumps' here and there that people will call cheap scares, but is n't that what horror movies used to be about? Suspense, atmosphere and a couple of freak-out scenes that might make you wet yourself a little?

Also: the mix of digital and practical effects for the ghosts were as unsettling as they needed to be. One scene where Harris is in bed with his "assigned" evil spirit is very effective. And the major scene in the third act where everything goes to hell is as well-done as I hoped it would be, though the digital effects here were probably a little too much.

Acting-wise, Purcell looks as sturdy and square-jawed as the horror hero should be, and the rest of the cast is about 'okay'. The standouts, though, are Kramer as Allison, who looks appropriately terrified, and Tcheky Karyo, who has precision scene-stealing down to a science.

I had to laugh at some comments about "Scooby-Doo" here, because I couldn't help but think about Meghan Perry's uncanny resemblance to Velma. Not to mention Sid-as-'Shaggy' and Harris as...okay, okay, I won't go there.

So THE GRAVEDANCERS isn't the movie that fits the HORRORFEST over-hype, either, but when it's available for DVD rental, or if it pops up on the Sci-Fi Channel on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I think I'd give it another whirl. Beats watching people rip out their own clavicles in SAW 3...
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
My favorite movie at Horrorfest!
marys13420 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This was by far by favorite Horrorfest movie. You can see a synopsis of the movie above, so I'm not going to bother going into detail with that. What I will say is that this was some great supernatural indie horror. There is a kill within the first 5 minutes of the movie, which to me is a bonus... and then the story begins. It's an introduction of characters basically, but it didn't bore me and they didn't spend too much time on that before creepiness ensues. Dominic Purcell from Prison Break was the lead and I thought he was great! I see a lot of people that weren't happy with the way the ghosts looked and the big head at the end... but I thought the ghosts looked awesome... and the head thing just added to the action. What would have probably been better at the end was if they would have run outside and POOF, it was daylight and it was all over. I did however think that they over reached a bit with the pyro scene, and the ax wielding ghost that didn't really move in a couple of scenes... but hey that's OK. For an indie horror film the effects were impossibly good.. and if you see a lot of indie horror films you know what I mean. This movie was a fun ride... and if you're looking for that and you can get over some of the CGI and effects then I would think you would have a great time!
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
some really bad movie
r-vinci17 November 2007
I just watched this movie and had to write this because of some other comments that were posted here; someone even called this movie "best horror flick recently" or something like that...

I couldn't agree less! This movie is just stupid, not scary, filled with plot holes in the already cliché-seen it a hundred times-wannabe-horror plot. Acting, continuity, gags, thrill effects - nothing worked out in this movie. May it be that it is a matter of taste whether you like or dislike this movie, but i read an awful lot of comments here about this movie that i think really treated it way to good.

You can say as positive aspects that considering the obviously low budget of the movie the cinematography and some visual effects are quite OK, but this couldn't save the rest for me...I can just say; you are not missing anything not watching this flick!
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
what a load of crud!
toasland12 February 2007
After reading many very positive reviews on 'The Gravedancers', I was so excited at the prospect of seeing an 'excellent' horror, as it has been years since I had my pants scared off. Comments like "I think I am going to have a heart attack" made me turn off the lights, grab the popcorn and set the home entertainment system to max frightening mode! What a waste of clean undies and popcorn that was. The acting was appalling..I think the cast were members of Pinocchio's family, the 'special effects' did not even come into that actual category, and the script..My 2 year old could have done equally as well, if not better. The only scary thing about the whole movie was that I wasted 95 minutes of my life that could have been so much more productively spent, doing something like picking my nose or scratching my butt. Do not bother even picking up the DVD case for this embarrassing example of a horror film. Just awful!
13 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews