Grave Secrets (1989) Poster


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Little-Known Paranormal Film
gavin69424 October 2012
A woman tormented by ghostly apparitions and a professor of psychic phenomena (Paul LeMat) investigate other-worldly disturbances and unlock the secret of a malevolent force reaching out for vengeance from beyond the grave.

Oh, Paul LeMat, how the almost mighty have fallen. You went from being a star in "American Graffiti" to doing this film and "Puppet Master". You could have been a contender! Now, I am not trying to be rude, Paul. You are a fine actor and have a strong screen presence. How did you start getting these offers rather than blockbusters? Why did Harrison Ford get to be Han Solo instead of you?

The story and effects here are not bad, sort of like a toned down "Ghost Busters" (and not nearly as funny). Except here you sort of have to coax ghosts out rather than capture them. (In "Ghost Busters" they seem to be eternal and can only be stored. Here they "cross over" if wrongs have been put right.)

I cannot say this is the best film about a haunting. Not by far. But it is not bad, either. Watch this only if you have already seen "Changeling" -- that is a far superior film.
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The Ending Could Have Been Handled Better
Uriah4328 May 2014
This movie begins with a woman named "Iris Norwood" (Renee Soutendijk) driving a car with an older man sitting beside her and he is apparently in some pain. He suddenly attacks her and she escapes by leaping out of the fast-moving car just before it crashes into a large tree. Three months later a college professor by the name of "David Shaw" (Paul Le Mat) is lecturing his students about a paranormal experience with a spirit of the dead when he notices a visitor leaving his class at the very end. The visitor just happens to be Iris. Eventually, David and Iris meet and she tells him that the bed & breakfast that she owns is haunted. What then transpires is a ghost story which starts off slow but builds in intensity until the very end. Unfortunately, the last 10 minutes or so of the film has too many details thrown in without enough detail for the audience to assimilate. Now, this movie definitely has some good horror mixed with a little comedy here and there but again the ending could have been handled better. Slightly below average.
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Some genuine scares
hecs16 July 1999
This is an unknown gem of a movie that has some real chills. Like much of it's genre it shows too much at the end and falls apart while fumbling for an (unsatisfying) explanation of the events. Overall, definitely recommended over the "Scream" rip-offs or "Exorcist" rip-offs of the late 70s and early 80s. If it were released today it would probably be a modest box office success.

Look for some conceptually innovative supernatural activity!
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Imagine Requiem for a Dream done by the American Pie people.
juliankennedy2331 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Grave Secrets (Secret Screams): 4 out of 10: Decent story about a haunting at a bed and breakfast is let down by a poor script, unfocused direction, and some poor acting choices.

The Good: Of all the actors in this I am willing to give Renée Soutendijk a pass. Considering what she is often given to work with she certainly seems to be trying to put together a character. She also has a semblance of charisma and screen presence.

Though they look funny today the special effects really are not all that bad. Well okay, they are sometimes that bad but they are fun and cartoonish and good lord at least something is happening onscreen.

The Bad: Paul Lemat has the charisma of wet toast in this and David Warner has what amounts to an extended cameo. Outside of a couple of townies and a perky female assistant, there are really no other characters in this film. The majority of the film is Renée Soutendijk telling Paul Lemat to leave her house and Paul basically ignoring her wishes in a way that could charitably be described as creepy in this me-too era. This is not as entertaining as one would think.

The story goes down some surprisingly dark paths. Too bad the script doesn't. The story is some horrifying content that is beyond dark but the script and the direction treat this as an extended Scooby Doo episode. Imagine Requiem for a Dream done by the American Pie people.

The Ugly: There are some interesting ideas in this film that are simply taken out back and shot. The film starts with our ghost hunting professor Lemat being visited by possible femme fatale Soutendijk. Lemat is in his office like Sam Spade with shadows and rain and the like. It is actually a really good start. Their next meeting one would expect in a smokey bar or on a foggy dock. Nope, a mall food court. It is as if the movie had a good idea and just forgot about it.

Speaking of forgotten about the local townie is clearly being set up as a jealous lover, former rapist, jealous of city folk threat to our leads (He throws an axe at them which they blame on the ghost.) He seems destined to have some sort of part to play in the stories resolution. Nope seems like the movie just forgot about him two-thirds of the way through.

In Conclusion: You know the AP style guide says that the modern preferred spelling of axe is ax. Apparently, axe is both old-fashioned and British. Am I so old that the language has changed on me? When did this happen?

As for the movie? Meh. Takes forever to finally get going and when it does the script pulls the stories punches. Skippable.
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A poorly scripted, confusing mess.
WisdomsHammer22 December 2017
There are three writers credited with the script. None of them seem to know how a normal human being would react in any given situation and the director doesn't seem to care. At least one of them wanted this to be a comedy.

The actors aren't bad ones, but their performances are so forced that it's painful to watch. Then again, they are playing unrealistic, idiotic characters speaking ridiculous dialogue, so it's difficult to blame them.

You'll want to strangle each one of them personally while watching this. David Warner's part in this is small, so be warned if you're hoping to see a lot of him. You won't.

If it hadn't been for the general premise, the camera work and lighting, the passable effects, and a half-decent score, I would not have kept watching. I don't know how many times I said, "Oh dumb," and "This doesn't make any sense!"

If you make it to the end, you'll be shaking your head in disbelief, wondering how something like this got made, and potentially laughing your ass off at the ridiculousness of it. I can't recommend this mess to anyone.
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Even Large Marge was infinitely scarier than this tedious movie
movieman_kev16 February 2012
Troubled Iris seeks the help of a paranormal psychologist/university professor who himself can't let go of his deceased wife and thus is about to be fired, to investigate hauntings at her cabin.

I saw this film on Instant Netflix under the title "Secret Screams", but no matter which moniker the movie goes by it's awful nonetheless. the acting is sub-par, the little special effects the film uses are hokey even for '80's standards, nothing really happens for a good 2/3rds of the movie and the plot is simply a jumbled mess. chalk this one up as an exercise in tedium.

My Grade: D-
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