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*** This review may contain 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.
*** This review may contain 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.
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
Mike Mendez really surprised me with this one back in 2007. I saw the trailer about a year prior to watching the film, and it somehow didn't look all that promising to me. But the movie itself actually turned out pretty damn good. Up until then, I wasn't exactly convinced if Mendez would be able to come up with a more serious horror-effort (without the goofy, violent splatter-nonsense imprinted on his previous film, "The Convent"). Let alone one that would actually work this well... Decent story, decent acting, decent effects, decent scares for a film this modestly sized. And even a "Poltergeist"-like climax (sort of, and pretty over-the-top too). I see no reason to ignore this fun clump of scary horror. Entertaining stuff for a dark & stormy night.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am a horror buff and have seen quite a few horror movies. I really liked this movie. I gave this movie high ranks for the really well done makeup and the interesting characterizations, but mainly for the intense feel to the plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. The first third of the movie is a bit of a bump-in-the-night portion, that elegantly sets up the latter two-thirds of the movie, as the action builds and the three friends attempt to survive the haunting. The creature affects were some of the most horrifying that I have ever seen (it is the sort of work that gives one nightmares).
*** 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).
*** 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...
I would give this rating a negative 5, but only can go as low as a one.
The acting in this flick was so bad, it was down right hilarious.
The plot could have been so much more creative, and the special effects were funny as the devil.
I suppose 12 year old would really find this flick scary. Unfortunately, it came with phony over ratings and in fact wasn't really worth making.
I regret to say, show this at a party of 11-12 year old, they will delight in it. Also I suppose people with severe to moderate brain damage might enjoy it.
Its a dud.
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!
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.
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