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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.
A solid premise, some decent twists, OK visual effects, and a very sexy
female cast. On the flip side, there's the cheesy dialogue that
alternates between unfunny intentional "humour" and almost funny
The other downside is the same thing I can say about the vast majority of horror films these days: the damn lack of colours.
At some point about 10-15 years ago it became hip to make greenish-blueish movies devoid of reality-based colours. The look of most horror films nowadays is depressing, gloomy, unappealing, and unrealistic. Dark-blue, filth-green and pale-yellow seem to dominate; other colours are a no-no. This destroys the visual fun of watching movies. Compare the typical lively-coloured 70s or early 80s flick with almost any made this century, and the huge quality drop becomes even more apparent. Hopefully, just as cheesy 80s synth-pop went out of fashion eventually, perhaps film-makers will finally realize that they don't HAVE to apply new computer software gadgetry to EVERY damn movie they make. Just because a new technology is on offer doesn't mean it should become your only bread-and-butter, while ignoring all other options and avenues.
This movie is pretty inventive, and it takes its time setting up the
scenario. Naturally that's important because if a film features
characters disrespecting the dead and dancing on top of graves, it
takes some effort getting the audience to invest in these people.
Therefore they get significant character focus though admittedly the lead couple receive the most focus. Kira soon gets found in terrible condition by the leads and therefore she isn't seen much under normal conditions. Actually their personalities don't stand out much although they are pretty likable characters, particularly Vincent.
The ghosts stand out from many recent ghost-related films, they have strangely odd eyes, demented grins and sometimes their limbs bent oddly (that might only have been one in particular, I'm not sure). Their attacks are based on their own crimes in their lives, giving them individuality.
"The Gravedancers" is a very story-dependent horror film, and therefore there isn't much gore, for those interested mainly in violence. There are several attacks but because the ghosts usually intend to torment their victims instead of immediately killing them, the (onscreen) violence is quite tame compared to films focused primarily on a high body count.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The plot is that a group of college friends attend the funeral of a
classmate, and at a drunken party at his grave, find a card with an
incantation, which extols them to dance on the graves of others. And of
course, they do so on the graves of three killers, because, hey, what
fun would it be if they were haunted by dead librarians or something.
Seriously, more plot convenience than a 7-11.
But the movie is save by some okay special effects and some decent acting, and some not bad dialog. Lesser hands like the ones who produce 90% of the horror direct to video schlock could have screwed this up.
It drags in parts and the final plot device (A paranormal investigator decides to keep the skulls of the ghosts so they can get proof of ghosts) is kind of silly.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I like horror movies with a preference toward haunted house movie and old school horror, and I like this movie... up to a point. The premise: three friends get drunk after a funeral and dance at the cemetery on graves in the area for the deranged. Afterwards, they become haunted by the psychos over whose bodies they danced. Why? Because a mysterious person left behind a chant which they... just happened to announce out loud. The premise is good, but the why is contrived. The story is scary, the ghosts are casual and the chain of events is preposterous as is the ghost hunters who risk their safety to help them. It is very hard for me to believe that the parapsychologist in the movie would go to such extreme ways and such a leap of faith to dig up some graves and follow a ridiculous mystical ritual instead of just tracking down the person who left the note that starts everything off. What? Did he get his degree out of a box of Crackerjacks? Besides that, several of the ghost sequences are scary, but the climax is a bit anticlimactic. Paranormal accuracy is out the window for sake of story, but the movie is a "worth-see" if you want good to uneven scares.
This isn't a awful scary movie but it's still pretty darn bad. The
whole movie just didn't flow very well and just comes off random a lot
of times with it's events. The pop up scares are just bunch of cheap
shots in this and the only scary thing is the design of the ghost. The
ghost actually look pretty scary but that is far as that goes. It seems
they didn't know what direction to go with this and it just seemed all
over the place. The horror elements isn't anything new and sometimes
comes off funny than actually scary and they didn't intentionally try
to go in a humorous direction. The whole premise is just plain stupid
and silly than actually scare you can't help but roll your eyes. It
seemed like they were just making it up as they went and didn't think
things through in creating one story that would work. The whole movie
just comes off as one big mess than a legit horror flick. There is just
a lot to this movie that just doesn't make any sense. Not many but
there were few scenes that was entertaining somewhat since it's over
the top silly. Especially near the end with the ghost battle. Overall
this is more of a ridiculous and humorous flick than scary, it isn't a
super awful horror movie but it's pretty close. I give it a 3.9 because
the silly parts were at least somewhat entertaining.
Well I was expecting worse, but that doesn't stop this entry (out of the 'Eight Films to Die For' collection) from just being an accommodatingly so-so effort in the paranormal field. Going against it was that the story was so telegraphed and formulaic, which led to many dull passages and hot air build ups. The idea is fine (which has some drunken young adults who were college buds disturbing the peace of the dead when reading out some card they find at their deceased friend's grave, while dancing on their graves. Now they're haunted by those spirits, and race against time with the help of a parapsychologist to end the curse before they take their lives), but the situation's progression is thinly stale and the execution is all flash, but colorlessly achieved. It's subtle build up kind of works when they encounter their unusual ghostly shenanigans, though it grows a bit tired however the last half hour doesn't work with its hysterical charge and overblown special effects. I thought the FX was well used during stages when it was focusing on the spirits, where the images of their sunken faces and flowing movements were effectively creepy. The performances by Dominic Purcell, Clare Kramer, Marcus Thomas, Josie Maran, Tchéky Karyo and Megahn Perry stand-up, if a little black and white. Director Mike Mendez overdone style etches its way in and takes away from the suspense, where he demonstrates a drearily cold atmosphere and lasting visuals caught by expansive photography. A ho-hum low-budget supernatural thriller.
The scare factor is pretty good in THE GRAVEDANCERS. It's a shame the
script which relies heavily on special effects for most of the scares,
isn't more intelligent. Toward the last fifteen minutes the scares are
so over-the-top that they become laughable. It doesn't help that the
principal male performance by Dominic Purcell ranges from bland to bad.
The plot has three young people who disrespected a grave site getting visits from evil spirits. Seems the site was the burial ground for a bunch of undesirables--an ax murderer, a pyromaniac and a rapist.
When they seek help from a parapsychologist and his assistant, the fun begins in earnest. A graveyard scene where a few of the bodies are uncovered is gruesome and frightening. But after that, the scenes with the evil spirits are way too grotesque for comfort and the plot becomes an extended ghoul fest full of blood thirsty creatures.
Basic idea for the story is a good one. Executing this idea doesn't quite work beyond a surface level of shock moments that become increasingly unbelievable before the story is over.
This movie's no Psycho or The Exorcist. It is slightly cheesy at
times.You can consider watching this when you feel like a flick that
doesn't tax too much on your wallet or give your mind a lot of work.
The guys who made the movie have done a good job with the creepy
atmospheric detail and the sombre music. The acting is good, Josie
Maran is decent eye candy. The other actors have also done a fairly
good job . The visual effect work is not the greatest but Its still the
best of its batch. Anyway, the movie does have it scary moments. And as
many other guys out there have said, its awesome for a low budget
production. BTW This is my first review......
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mike Mendez directs this bone chiller. Outstanding horror flick with old fashioned terror. Acting varies from strong to miserable; but good story and even better effects. After the funeral for a close friend, a group of class mates get together for drinks. These three friends end up at the cemetery; and after more all night drinking the drunken friends end up dancing on graves and really upsetting the dirt nap of three wicked spirits. These friends regain sobriety, but now are haunted by three hell raising ghosts seeking revenge. Kira(Josie Maran)already has a head start on freaking out. Sid(Marcus Thomas)is positive his life is in danger; while Harris(Dominic Purcell)wants more hard evidence that the group's days are numbered. Some stark disturbing images with strong violence makes THE GRAVEDANCERS a film you don't want to miss. For real horror fans the unrest will be enjoyable. Others in the cast: Claire Kramer, Tcheky Karyo and Megahn Perry.
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