Saturday, 23 March 2013

Open Graves

"Open Graves" (2009, Álvaro de Armiñán, Alchemedia Films Manufacturas, Open Pictures, Voltage Pictures) is basically "Jumanji" with college students and horror.

A group of friends are enjoying life in the Spanish sun. Jason (Mike Vogel, who you may recognise from the Texas Chainsaw remake or from "Cloverfield") is a fresh college graduate enjoying some gap year opportunities, Tomas (Iman Nazemzadeh) is a photographer who is sleeping with as many models who are willing, Lisa (Lindsay Caroline Robba) is an aspiring model and girlfriend of Tomas, Elena (Naike Rivelli) is another model who is more than happy to give Tomas what he wants, and Miguel (Ander Pardo) and Pablo (Boris Martinez) are local guys who are good friends with Tomas and Jason.

Jason has also found a love interest in the form of Erica (Eliza Dushku), an American surfer chick out to explore the world and 'find herself'.

While wandering around the shops, Jason comes across a strange place peddling trinkets and spooky knick-knacks. He is convinced to take a game called "Mamba" as a 'gift' from the shop's owner.

At night, the gang and Erica are enjoying a beach front fire party, when a storm suddenly begins. Heading to cover inside, only to find that the power is out, they decide to check out the strange board game which Jason was given.

Each player rolls their turn and is put out of the game via a creepy 'Epitaph' card. They all dismiss the game as nonsense, but it isn't long before each 'player' begins dying in real life, and in ways ever so closely matched to their 'Epitaph' card from the game!

As the remaining friends frantically try to stop their impending doom reaching them, their number becomes increasingly small as the grisly deaths pile up.

A nice little yarn which is passable for a one-view-only, but not really what I'd call a 'good horror movie'.

The CGI isn't the best, but that's relatively forgiveable. There's a lot of would-be gory scenes ruined by it, though. The film's not scary, but it did a bring a smile to my face once or twice with the death scenes which are creative to the point of hilarity.

The game prop itself is quite impressive, though! English-written cards not withstanding... 

Really, this is just a film made to showcase the ever awesome Eliza Dushku as a sexy surfer lady, rather than a particularly serious horror film. There are a lot of good plot points hinted at and just never brought to fruition, and generally, didn't add any depth to the film.

It has potential and could be fun as a drinking game, but really next time I'll just watch "Jumanji" and then an episode of "Dollhouse"...

[Image: Voltage Pictures]

Hani