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Mike Mendez's follow up to his kick butt movie The Convent is a mixed bag of tricks. some work, some don't. Gravedancers tells the creative and original story of a group of friends reunited by a funeral. On the night of the occasion they get drunk and accidentally dance on some graves releasing the evil spirits in the wrong side of the cemetery. The spirits of a rapist/murderer, a pyre maniac and another murderer. The friends are haunted by these ghosts according to the curse for a month. And as the month comes to a close the paranormal attacks become stronger and stronger as the ghosts try to take the people with them. It's an intriguing concept and much fun is to be had with it. The performances are all decent, the story is creative and the movie is a little slow at the start but is wildly inventive and macabre once it gets going. Everything in the film is done with a winking eye so you can appreciate the film without feeling to guilty about it. The makeup is cartooned and freaky while the cgi is a little fake looking but an understandable necessity with a low budget especially in a film of this caliber. My main gripes however don't come with the film, it's more with the way it was released. You know i didn't mind shelling out 9.50 for this movie but I'm mad as heck that the film's sound transfer was messed up and sounded mono, and the film quality was amateur looking. It wasn't even fine tuned or polished by After Dark. what could've been delightfully freakish come across humorously because of the films lighting. It's dreadfully bright which kind of kills the suspense of a horror flick. The film looks like a rough cut and should have been really touched up before getting a theatrical release. Because they had a good product but ruined it with no effort at all. This doesn't bode well for their film company or the continuing success of a festival of this sorts. But in conclusion I would just like to say although not on the par of a worthy theatrical release this is definitely worth a look on DVD.
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!
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.
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.
I just watched GRAVEDANCERS, and what a film. If like me you are a horror fan (Especially of the 70's and 80's flicks), then you are gonna love this. To me it had everything -great scares and jumps all the way to superb effects from the director who gave us 'KILLERS' and THE COVENANT'!!! - That's what I thought, but this is a whole world away from those naff efforts. We start off with three friends attending the funeral of a buddy who has died in a car accident. Later that night they go to his grave to reminisce, drink booze and listen to music, when one of the friends reads a poem found on a card laying on the tombstone. Little do they realize what they about to read is going to upset some truly evil ghosts, who are going to stop at nothing until they all die a grisly death. This reminded me of a cross between 'THE FRIGHTENERS' and 'THE EVIL DEAD' -A strong cast and an excellent supporting cast give the film a strong backbone. but for me the direction and brilliant storyline did it for me. Take the film for what it is - a throwback to horror films of years gone by (Mendez obviously has a love for the old stuff). Trust me, you will see a lot worse than this - I actually don't think I will see a better horror film this year. A very impressive 9 out of 10.
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.
*** 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.
*** 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!
*** 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.
Even the director himself admits that his movie wasn't that
greatsometimes 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 movieavoid this one with your life unless it's free to watch on TV.
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