Two best friends see their trip of a lifetime take a dark turn when one of them is struck by a mysterious affliction. Now, in a foreign land, they race to uncover the source before it consumes him completely.
And suddenly, overnight, the world came to a halt. Two men, two survivors, one kid, and hatred that separates them. A place forgotten by everyone, including the creatures that inhabit the Earth... until now.
Miguel Ángel Vivas
As the Barrett family's peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, they come to learn that a terrifying and deadly force is after them, one which may have arrived from beyond the stars.
A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl's father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan,
A man wakes up in a pit of dead bodies with no memory of who he is or how he got there. Fleeing the scene, he breaks into a nearby house and is met at gunpoint by a group of terrified strangers, all suffering from memory loss. Suspicion gives way to violence as the group starts to piece together clues about their identities, but when they uncover a threat that's more vicious - and hungry - than each other, they are forced to figure out what brought them all together - before it's too late.Written by
Sometimes waking up in a pit of corpses isn't very much fun.
Gonzalo López-Gallego's (Apollo 18) latest offering, Open Grave, is a rare pleasure where the viewer doesn't quite know what's going on until fairly late in proceedings. As with 1997 'cult' classic Cube, we find ourselves in a similar position to the protagonists, who wake from unconsciousness with amnesia and something resembling a warzone outside, with trees and fences littered with fetid corpses and those still slowly expiring.
When a 'John Doe' (Sharlto Copley) regains consciousness to find himself in a large pit in the woods in the company of innumerable cadavers, it doesn't take a genius to work out that something very bad has happened and might just still be happening. When he finds a gun, his panic escalates; is he victim or murderer? A mute figure, Brown Eyes (Josie Ho), throws down a rope to help him escape and leads him to a shack in the woods where several other survivors/victims are discovering the situation for themselves. Suspicion and blame ensues as the group tries to establish their identities and just what the hell is going on...
There's a great deal to like about Open Grave, from the opening sequence in which a pair of unblinking eyes slowly fill with confusion, awareness and panic to give the impression that, like with Cormac McCarthy's The Road, we'll never know exactly what, why or where. There are nods in several directions (World War Z, 28 Days Later, Contagion), all of which keep us guessing as to whether we're in the presence of zombies, the aftermath of a government experiment or some new Captain Trips. López-Gallego doesn't allow us to know how far it stretches or how serious the situation. If the characters in the middle of it don't know what state their lives are in and how many breaths they still have, why should we? Would that more thrillers took this approach!
Like Apollo 18, Open Grave is likely to attract a limited audience of a certain demographic but for those who like their horror a little less obvious and with a hint of mystery, this should fill a Friday evening quite satisfactorily. There is a quantity of violence and gore as one would expect and it is sufficient to make it feel 'real' without pandering to the morons who only find pleasure in gratuitous blood spatter.
A lack of genuine scares steers Open Grave away from being an out and out horror but it does play on the nerves, keeping us on edge until we know what's going on. This feels like a low budget flick but López-Gallego handles it well, eking it out so that rather than allowing his film to feel empty, he emphasizes the isolation of the characters.
Copley recently complained that Hollywood doesn't know which box to place him in because he plays such a varied range of characters. I'm not sure I'd go along with his own assessment yet. Though his eight features to date, including this month's particularly dark Oldboy, have seen him play both solid support and quirky lead, I'm not sure there's sufficient chameleon-like qualities to have Ben Kingsley worried for the time being. Nevertheless, Copley remains a very watchable actor and as the John Doe in one hell of a tight spot, he keeps us both guessing and attentive throughout.
Open Grave isn't going to scare you witless like Insidious or have you avoiding the trees like The Cabin in the Woods, but if you're looking for a mild thriller that doesn't lay everything out before you in the first act, you could do far worse than this.
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