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Case Number 09838

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The Graveyard

Lionsgate // 2006 // 83 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // August 11th, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge Mitchell Hattaway is afraid to bury this movie. It might kill all the grass and trees in the area.

The Charge

Fear is buried here.

Opening Statement

Damn, this movie is stupid.

Facts of the Case

The plot of this movie is incredibly complex, and I'm going to go fast, so try to keep up. Ready? Okay, here we go: A masked killer terrorizes a group of friends at an abandoned summer camp.

The Evidence

I've seen a lot of stupid movies in my day, and I've seen a lot of movies brimming with contempt for their target audiences, but The Graveyard combines those two qualities in a way I never dreamed possible. It's boring, illogical in the extreme, and inept. Worse still, it also fails to deliver the typical slasher flick goods. I can't imagine getting anyone their money's worth out of this movie, and that includes people looking for a so-bad-it's-good time waster.

The premise is just plain dumb. A group of high school kids sneak into a graveyard and pull a prank on one of their friends. After the poor bastard is accidentally killed, another of the kids takes the rap and serves five years for involuntary manslaughter. Upon his release, the now twentysomething friends reunite for a weekend of healing at an old summer camp which just so happens to be located next to the graveyard where their friend was killed. Pretty soon a masked madman shows up and starts butchering everyone.

Damn stupid, huh? A graveyard next to a summer camp? Regardless of which was the first to be built, what kind of stupid idea is that? Returning to the scene of the accident in order to heal? Screw that. But as bad as the basic premise is, the particulars of the story are even worse. Nobody can figure out who the killer is, this despite the fact that it's the one person who is always showing up after the others have discovered a new victim. (Given the killer's true identity, the others should have recognized him the moment they saw him.) The guy who did time ventures off to find help and runs across the local sheriff. The guy's carrying a huge freaking knife, and his clothes are covered in blood, which leads the sheriff to suspect he's responsible for the recent murder of a hiker. Well, the sheriff does a background check and discovers the guy hasn't been out of the joint long enough to have committed the murder, so he cuts him loose. Okay, so the guy couldn't have committed that particular murder, but he's still running around soaked in blood, carrying a huge freaking knife. Why isn't the sheriff curious about that? I'll tell you why: because he's an idiot. He's so stupid he doesn't even notice that the guy has a .45 tucked into the front of his jeans. Haul the guy in because he's got blood on his clothes and is carrying a huge freaking knife? Makes sense. Don't bother to pat down the guy with the bloody clothes and the huge freaking knife? Yeah, okay. (About that dead hiker—seems the killer slaughtered him and assumed his identity. Apparently this is the type of killer too stupid to come up with his own pseudonym, so he has to kill a guy and look at the dude's driver's license for inspiration.)

Wait, it gets better. Unbeknownst to her friends, one of the characters is a lesbian. The truth regarding her sexual orientation is revealed in a scene in which her bull dyke (her words, not mine) ex-girlfriend shows up and screams at her (this is apparently meant to help them reconcile). Get this—the bull dyke makes her first appearance by dropping out of a tree behind her ex-girlfriend. How did she know her ex would stop under this particular tree and turn her back? Beats me. Now get this—the bull dyke gets pissed, walks away, stops under another tree, then turns back to shout an insult at her ex. The killer then drops out of that tree and kills the bull dyke. You know what's ever more amazing? The killer was walking with everyone else when the bull dyke first showed up. The killer somehow managed to sneak away from everyone else, change clothes and put on his mask, then get ahead of the bull dyke and climb the tree. Amazing, huh?

I'll stop boring you with minutiae, but I would like to mention a few more things. Two of the characters visit the grave of their deceased friend and discover that the grave has been dug up and the body removed. Do they mention this to anyone else? Nope. One of the characters has a copy of a newspaper article about a fire at the home of the deceased friend, a fire which killed every member of his immediate family. The killer later admits to setting the fire, which was an attempt to fake his own death. See, he's the one who dug up the body, which he then placed in the house before starting the fire (never mind that autopsies and dental records would have proven who was actually in the house when it burned). Okay, so the dead guy's body is exhumed and his house later burns down. Sounds fishy to me, and you'd think this would interest the authorities and be mentioned in the article, but it's not. (Oh, wait, I forgot that the sheriff's an idiot. Guess he's also the editor of the local paper.) And why doesn't anyone fix the damn hole in the cemetery gate? Hell, some kids sneak in through a hole in the gate, one ends up dying after being impaled in the bent bars, and five years later the same hole is still there? Speaking of five years, one of the characters is a lawyer. She's a high school senior when the movie opens, a practicing lawyer five years later. Neat trick, that. And one of the victims is dispatched by a trained rattlesnake. I swear.

If you're not going add a bit of wit and style to a flick like this, you at least have to amp up the old slasher movie staples. Unfortunately, the people responsible for The Graveyard don't understand this. The gore, what little there is, is incredibly tame. You get one bloody victim, one character whose hands get bloody after touching said victim, and a pile of what appears to be canned dog food soaked in corn syrup and red food coloring. That's it. And as far as nudity goes, the only actress to get naked is killed within the first fifteen minutes. She takes it all off, rides her boyfriend, goes to take a shower and then buys it. Come on, what the hell kind of gyp is that?

Before I forget, you might like to know that The Graveyard is a pseudo-sequel to Bloody Murder and Bloody Murder 2. From what I understand, those movies featured a masked killer whose left hand had been replaced with a chainsaw terrorizing stupid people at a summer camp, the very same camp featured in this movie. Yay.

The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer is horrible. It's grimy, grungy and grainy (not that anyone will be watching). The stereo soundtrack is weak and muddled (not that anyone will be listening). The only extras are several previews.

Closing Statement

Is The Graveyard the worst slasher flick ever made? I'm not qualified to answer that. Is The Graveyard the worst slasher flick I've ever seen? By a country mile.

The Verdict

Guilty as hell.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 50
Audio: 50
Extras: 10
Acting: 30
Story: 20
Judgment: 30

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Bad
• Horror
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Previews

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