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19 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

A Cut Above Average Low Budget Horror Flick

Author: dean2900 from United States
11 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.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Watchable but nothing special.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
20 May 2010

*** 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.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A pleasingly spooky and unsettling supernatural horror chiller

Author: Woodyanders ( from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
6 July 2007

*** This review may contain 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.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

8 Films to Die For Horror Fest Reviews .4: Gravedancers

Author: ChiefGoreMongral from Knoxville Cannibal Pygmy Reservation
25 November 2006

*** 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.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Good candidate for worst ever

Author: realblades from Finland
15 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.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

About as scary as a Scooby Doo reruns...

Author: MichaelLibinAP from United States
12 September 2007

*** This review may contain 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".

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Nice change of pass

Author: agreigboy from United States
18 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.

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13 out of 22 people found the following review useful:


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.


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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The Gravedancers

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...

Author: Christopher T. Chase ( 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, 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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