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13 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Excellent

9/10
Author: jamesmcsloy from United Kingdom
18 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

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The Gravedancers

7/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
2 May 2007

*** This review may contain 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).

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Not As "GRAVE" As It Sounds, But Still Entertaining...

8/10
Author: Christopher T. Chase (cchase@onebox.com) from Arlington, VA.
20 November 2006

*** This review may contain 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...

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

My favorite movie at Horrorfest!

8/10
Author: marys134 from United States
20 November 2006

*** This review may contain 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!

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

some really bad movie

2/10
Author: r-vinci from Germany
17 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!

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

How can anyone like this?

1/10
Author: Jacques98 from United States
3 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.

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17 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

The Best Ghost Imagery in a Horror Movie

9/10
Author: bonnie91 from Ventura, California
13 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!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great ghost movie but the ending was a HUGE letdown

8/10
Author: atinder from United Kingdom
17 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

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"Respect the dead."

Author: Backlash007 from Kentucky
4 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

Mike Mendez has the talent to direct a really great horror film. However, Gravedancers is not it. Gravedancers is not a bad flick. Actually, it's one of the better films from the first After Dark Horrorfest. But it's just silly enough to keep it from reaching the "classic" echelon. The plot follows a group of old college friends who gather to attend a funeral for one of their own. They drink a little alcohol to celebrate their fallen compadre and pretty soon are dancing on graves; hence the title. The ghosts of said graves aren't particularly impressed with their dance skills and decide to haunt them and make their lives a living hell until the next full moon. It sounds a little wacky, no? It is, and it hurts the film. It straddles the line between cheesy and terrifying a little too much often tipping the scales into the cheesy territory. But when's it's terrifying, MAN! Mendez packs a genuine thrill into the scares. There are a couple of scenes that rivaled Exorcist III on the jump scale. For that alone I have to recommend you give this a look. Just remember I warned you about the goofy parts and you will probably enjoy Gravedancers. For the next, drop the comedy Mendez.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I'm not going anywhere unless something is chasing me.

6/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
17 February 2008

Wow! I get to see Tchéky Karyo (The Patriot) two days in a row. I just watched him with Nick Nolte in The Good Thief, and now here he is as a ghost hunter (yeah, right) with a beautiful assistant Megahn Perry. But, they come in later.

First, there is the grave dancing - and grave pissing. I am sure everyone has at least thought about pissing or dancing on someone's grave. Well, you might want to rethink that after seeing this film, especially if you are the type that watches "Ghost Hunters" on TV. Hee Hee.

After doing the drunken deeds, our heroes: Dominic Purcell (Primeval, Equilibrium), Josie Maran (Van Helsing) and Marcus Thomas (Edmond), are getting their reward - crazed spirits after them.

This spooky film has it all: creaky sound, apparitions, super special effects, blood and gore, and perversion in what i would call a traditional horror film. There is enough to keep your interest throughout, and certainly enough to keep you jumping out of your seat.

And, hey, I wonder who did the casting here as I see a couple of more people from The Patriot?

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