Horror Movie Review: Grave Intentions (2021)

Grave Intentions is a horror anthology film featuring stories that date back as far as 2014, with at least one appearing in another anthology.

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The wrap-around segments feature Madam Josephine (Joy Vandervort-Cobb) who sells magical items in her shop. Speaking directly to the camera, she showcases certain items as an introduction to each story. As well as signing off the stories with a ‘lesson to be learned’ thought or comment.

These wrap-around segments are separate to the stories and even the items are often just metaphorical in regards to what we’re about to see. It’s got more in common with something like Tales from the Crypt.

The first story is The Bridge Partner and it was adapted from a story by Peter S. Beagle and directed by Gabriel Olson. It stars Mattie (Beth Grant) as a shy but avid bridge player joining a new club. There, she is assigned a new partner Olivia (Sharon Lawrence) who is everything Mattie wishes she was.

That is until Olivia quietly whispers in Mattie’s ear that she plans to kill her.

A smart and tense opening story, The Bridge Partner is darkly enjoyable with strong performances and a thrilling conclusion.

Less enjoyable in the same way, Matthew Richards’ (writer/director) The Disappearance of Willie Bingham is an uncomfortable watch. One that deals with a real grim version of capital punishment in the not so far away future. It’s one of the more disturbing stories in this anthology.

Although Violent Florence from Jamie Snyder comes mighty close to that high bar. Here, Florence (Charly Thorn) saves a cat from being tortured by a group of bullies only to have her own sadistic plans for the furball.

This is not a comfortable watch, especially if you’re an animal lover (and who isn’t?).

More light-hearted but still dark; The Son, the Father comes from Lukas Hassel who also stars in it. Here, young Luke (Lucas Oktay) gets tired of his mother’s pranks and decides to play his own one that has fatal consequences. Again, it’s got a clever story and really sticks the landing. Strong enough to make you want to see this story developed upon.

The last story comes from director by Brian Patrick Lim who co-wrote it with Levi San Luis. Called Marian, the titular character (Johanah Basanta) lives in a decrepit old mansion with her abusive Aunt. It’s not a nice life for Marian, though it can get worse it seems, as the house is haunted.

A strong finish that has the feel of a classic ghost story, albeit one with a warning message. It ends the anthology on a strong note even though the quality overall is high. There are no misses here, just one or two that just aren’t quite as good as the others.

Grave Intentions has a few problems though. One being the pointless wrap-around segments with Madame Josephine. There are far too many and they just don’t link into the stories well enough to be really satisfying. Likewise, the stories are unrelated making this film feel disjointed. Its requires a constant mental adjustment as one ends and you have to get yourself ready for the next.

Grave Intentions
  • The Final Score - 6.5/10
User Review
8.5/10 (1 vote)