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|Index||126 reviews in total|
*** 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 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.
Mike Mendez directs this supernatural horror that manages to be a great
mix of the darkly humorous with the deadly serious and the clichéd with
The story is a pretty simple one; three friends (Dominic Purcell, Josie Maran and Marcus Thomas) let their hair down after the funeral of another friend of theirs. The night ends with them dancing on some graves and making themselves the focus of attention for some very angry spirits. Some mildly spooky behaviour soon escalates and the trio find out that they only have a limited timeframe in which to fix things before they are dragged off by the angry spirits. Can a couple of paranormal investigators (played by Tchéky Karyo and Megahn Perry) help? Is there anything that can undo the damage that has been done?
Providing a great mix of low-key spookiness with some nice jump scares and creepy imagery, The Gravedancers is one of the better "little" horror movies you could treat yourself to watching. The acting is all okay, if nothing special, and the effects are very well done, for the most part. There are a few twists and turns here and there but, by and large, this is a straightforward thrill-ride. Yes, there are moments when it comes very close to being impossible to swallow but it just, somehow, manages to keep you onside and involved with the plight of the characters so that you're too busy wanting to see someone get saved than wondering just how far-fetched it's all getting.
I'd like to see more from Mike Mendez. On the basis of this movie, he knows how the genre works and makes the most out of the little moments of unease in between the big scares. Which is a major asset for anyone making horror, in my book.
See this if you like: Flatliners, Night Of The Demon, Drag Me To Hell.
...till I'm sure that you're dead!(B.Dylan) Profanations have become
frequent nowadays and it is a burning subject which deserved a
responsible writer and a reliable director.
The movie fails twice: mediocre story,poor acting,awful directing relying on horrible (and non-scary) special effects.The movie hits rock bottom when they hire ghost busters (from a famous university of course),one of them is the unfortunate Tcheky Karyo in what is perhaps the worst part of his career;he is abetted by a bubble head assistant (collaborator,she says)."The night of the living dead" has still no contenders in this field.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
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.
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?
Gravedancers is one of those films that just plays fun. While watching it you think how much fun the makers must have had cause the gleeful way in which it plays out suggests that. essentially, three friends dance on some graves during a drunken night of mourning a recently deceased friend. Of course, this being a horror film they get more than they bargained for since a curse is laid on them and the spirits of the occupants of the three graves come back for revenge. The cast is uniformly strong, especially Tcheky Karyo and Clare Kramer. The FX are strong, although they are used sparingly and effectively. The climax is a nod to Evil Dead II and cements the old school style of the film. All in all, a fun fright flick.
Dominic 'Prison Break' Purcell gets drunk with two of his friends and
they all dance on graves which doesn't sit well while the insane dead
people who's graves they're dancing on and the ghosts decide to haunt
these fools. OK, granted the plot is not the most stable, but I found
myself enjoying this throwback to '80's horror film none the less. If
you forgive the opening sequence that has jack all to do with the rest
of the film and the mind baffling climax that turns a pretty cool
little horror flick into a borderline comedy, you'll find yourself with
a decent film. One capable of providing a few thrills and chills.
Purcell was good as the main lead. Almost made me forgive Mike Mandez
for "Bimbo Movie Bash"... ALMOST.
My Grade: B
Lionsgate's DVD Extras (R1): Commentary by director Mike Mendez and composer Joe Bashara; 13 minute Making of featurette; deleted scenes; 12 minute look at the making of the ghosts(all of the aforementioned extras have optional commentary) ; storyboard gallery ;3 minute promo trailer; an After Dark compilation trailer; and trailers for Unrest, Reincarnation, the Hamiltons, Dark Ride, & Penny Dreadful
Easter Egg: In the special features menu, highlight the "Also from Lion's Gate" icon and press right for a grave marker icon, click it for a short scene of how a certain effect was done
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
It does deserve some kind of award for the most ludicrous title ever, though.
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