Horror Movie Review: Open Grave (2013)

Open Grave is a horror film that was directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego, releasing in 2013. It stars Sharlto Copley as a man who wakes up in a large pit full of dead bodies and does not remember how he got there.

A mute woman helps the man escape and he follows her to a house with three others. Like him, the others do not remember who they are. As they converse and explore the building, they slowly begin to remember.

They discover five find ID cards for three of them. No ID is found for the man, who is given the name John Doe. A nearby calendar hints that something is going to happen on the 18th, in two days’ time. Exploring the immediate surroundings of the house, they discover corpses chained to trees.

The remainder of the film sees the group slowly recovering their memories and dissecting the mystery at hand. However, nothing can prepare them for the horrors to come.

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Open Grave is the type of movie that requires the viewer to be patient. It wants you to feel the confusion that the characters do. Therefore, it can be a bit of a frustrating watch. Seeing a bunch of amnesiacs unwittingly wandering around does grow tiresome. You’re presented with distorted flashbacks throughout that make no sense until pieced together. Events unfold slowly. The overarcing mystery is interesting. Although, I pretty much predicated exactly what was going on before the reveal. It’s meant to be this huge revelation and it didn’t shock me at all. Still, this may not be the case for everyone but for me it was disappointing.

I’m fond of Sharlto Copley. I really liked his performance in District 9.  However, dear lord does he need to steer clear of doing an American accent. The man has a natural thick, South-African accent. It’s actually really impressive that he manages to drop it at all. Regardless, I wasn’t a fan of this extremely generic American accent. Still, the acting throughout is solid at least.

Believe it or not, this is a horror movie. In fact, it even has zombies! Or violent ghouls or something. They really reminded me of the rage zombies seen in 28 Days Later. One things for sure, they tick the intimidation box. We do get a glimpse of the initial outbreak at the end which I found annoying. One of the most exciting moments of any zombie apocalypse is the moment it all goes to hell and this film brushes past it and goes for a more tell don’t show approach which is a mistake.

The finale is all sorts of bleak which I loved. It’s only a shame that the film never got a continuation in the form of a sequel because there’s a lot more to explain.

Overall, Open Grave is worth watching at least once. However, I wouldn’t want to sit through it again. With any mystery, the journey must feel worthwhile. We all know Jigsaw is laying on the ground in the original Saw film. However, knowing that doesn’t make the film less watchable. Once you have all of the answers in Open Grave it makes what you had to sit through feel like a chore. You finally get somewhere and then it ends.




Open Grave
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