Cinedigm // 2013 // 102 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Alice Nelson // August 20th, 2014
Haven't seen this many lifeless bodies since the Seahawks clobbered the Broncos in Super Bowl 48.
Jonah (Sharlto Copley, District 9) wakes up in a pit full of dead bodies, with no idea who he is, or how he got there. A mysterious mute woman (Josie Ho, Contagion) rescues him from the pit and leads Jonah to a cabin where there are four others just like him who have no recollection of their identities. They all begin experiencing flashbacks that only increases the mistrust, and as the memories come flooding back, they must trust each other in order to fight a more sinister presence that threatens them all.
Right off the bat, I am recommending that you all watch Open Grave. In all honesty, it isn't a great film, but it is a very good one. One of those off the radar, independent productions that have in recent years been far more interesting than some of the duds that larger studios have inflicted upon us. From the very first frame of this thriller, you are dropped smack dab into the middle of a mystery; there's no time to get your bearings, the scene opens and some dude is in a pit with dozens of dead bodies -- whoa!
Imagine waking up in a giant hole surrounded by corpses; you have no idea what your name is, let alone how you arrived at a point in your life where you're napping with the dead. You meet 5 strangers who don't trust you, and you think, 'Hey I was the one in the pit with a boat load of dead people, maybe it is I that shouldn't be trusting you.' Things get even weirder -- although it's hard to think what would be much stranger than an open grave -- when everyone starts getting flashbacks that don't make sense. However these glimpses give the impression that they are not strangers at all -in fact they may have actually known each other before the mind wipe. The question is, why don't they remember anything? And the answer is right in front of them in the form of a woman who unfortunately cannot speak. She knows exactly what happened, but she's mute, and even if she could talk, English is not her native tongue -ugh!
I love how writers Eddie Borey and Chris Borey keep the audience in the dark right along with the characters. We are all experiencing this nightmare together until the mystery is finally revealed. The acting by the entire cast is wonderful, so much so that it's hard to pick a standout performance. Copley is joined in this talented ensemble by Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted) as Lukas, Joseph Morgan (Immortals) as Nathan, Max Wrottesley (Hugo) as Michael, and Erin Richards as Sharon. Director Gonzalo Lopez Gallego (Apollo 18) does a great job of letting the actors dig deep and give their all, as the characters they're portraying try and find out the truth of what's going on before it's too late.
Open Grave (Blu-ray) is a 1.85:1/1080p HD widescreen presentation, with clear images and a sharp color palette. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is nice, but there are moments when the dialogue is so low that you need to crank the volume up to eleven. Bad move if you forget to turn things down before the next suspenseful scene, because you will be blown away when Juan Navazo's original score kicks things up a couple of notches, leaving you with minor heart palpitations. Still, the music is a nice accessory to this taught little thriller. The extras are fairly minimal, consisting of only one behind the scenes featurette.
Open Grave is a good little film that is definitely worth a purchase. A respectable contribution to the genre, and a worthy addition to any horror aficionado's collection.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated R
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