I wonder what could a movie titled Open Grave could be about? Perhaps a man who wakes up in an open grave full of dead bodies? Well, since I saw the movie I know that but now you do too. So, this is one of those movies where the protagonist doesn’t remember what the fuck happened and we join him on a journey to the truth. We will be trying to figure out what’s going on along with him and this is one of the best things about Open Grave.
The cinematography is excellent and this is not some cheap-ass minimalist horror movie despite the setting. Since the movie was shot in Hungary, it had that Hostel vibe although it feels more similar to Severance. Only without humor. The atmosphere is very dark, macabre, and at times even uncomfortable. Especially during the first night. However, once you set off on this “adventure” something pushes you to finish it.
The whole thing feels like a living nightmare and you can’t help but feel for our protagonists as they’re looking for answers. The acting was great with Sharlto Copley as John giving one hell of a performance. However, Erin Richards stole the show for me as Sharon. She looks like British Alice Eve.
As John slowly wakes up, he realizes he’s outside and that it’s night. He can’t see a thing but soon finds a lighter and finally figures out he’s in a pit full of dead bodies. Just as the panic started setting in, someone throws him a rope and he climbs out of that wretched place. However, now comes the hard part of finding out where he is and what’s going on.
After a pretty intense beginning, the midsection of the movie is quite slow with the pacing picking up in the final third. I don’t want to reveal too much as Open Grave is counting on you knowing as little as possible about the story. The visuals are great, with gruesome sets and great lighting. In one of the scenes early on, John spots a house during a heavy storm. As he’s walking in through the door you can see the freaking steam coming off his body!
It’s the little details like this that make Open Grave worth watching. As you probably figured out by now, this is also one of those high-concept movies. As such, it fails to live up to the hype it created. Character development could be better along with pacing and storytelling. However, if you’re looking for something different and relatively original, I think that you should check it out. You can also check out Gonzalo López-Gallego Apollo 18, a pretty decent found-footage science fiction horror.
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Writer: Eddie Borey, Chris Borey
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Thomas Kretschmann, Josie Ho, Joseph Morgan, Erin Richards, Max Wrottesley
Fun Facts: The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2006 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.