Jon (Sharlto Copley, District 9, Elysium) wakes up in a pit of dead bodies with no memory of who he is or how he got there.
Fleeing the scene, he breaks into a nearby house and is met at gunpoint by a group of terrified strangers, all suffering from memory loss.
Suspicion gives way to violence as the group starts to piece together clues about their identities, but when they uncover a threat that’s more vicious – and hungry – than each other, they are forced to figure out what brought them all together before it’s too late.
Open Grave is a terrifying and twisted thriller that will keep you guessing until the bitter end.
Sounds like a night out with the lads doesn’t it? I’ve wandered off many times from a nightclub and ended up in the middle of nowhere, searching for somewhere to hide out in the rain.
As usual though, I have to ask some questions. You know it’s in my nature after all: Why have a group of strangers been brought together, all marked and all bereft of any memory of who they are and why they are all together? Will they figure out these questions, or are they all doomed to die? Who is behind the mass grave of dead bodies where they all appear to have escaped from and when will the truth finally be told?
Open Grave starts off with a lot of promise and one of the immediately noticeable things is the high level of acting from each cast member, particularly Sharlto Copley who gives a great performance as Jon. He manages to make the audience genuinely believe that he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on around him and what his purpose was before he woke in the mass grave. There are particularly strong performances from Erin Richards as Sharon and Joseph Morgan as Nathan too.
But as much as their acting was great, I didn’t particularly warm to any character. This may be due to the fact that the film tries to hard to adequately fit screen time for each of them within a relatively short space of time (Just near the 100 minutes mark). I’m not one to complain normally, but I feel Open Grave could have been say, 30 minutes longer to allow us to discover each character more and to allow the script to have more depth.
In a world full of zombie movies, any zombie film that wishes to strike a mark has to allow characters to breathe in a world which is ultimately crumbling around them. Sadly I don’t believe that Open Grave allowed this to happen. This may have been down to the final edit.
Whilst I wouldn’t purchase Open Grave, I would suggest renting it as a means of checking it out prior to purchase. If you are a fan of zombie movies then this may be your cup of tea. Unfortunately though, I’ve seen so many zombie films now that I really need a storyline that grips me and allows me to feel for characters if they are hurt or are eaten alive on the screen.
Zombie films should not only be fast paced and thrilling but should also carry a message warning us of the risks of experimentation and it’s consequences. Whilst it achieved this to a point, the action at times was surprisingly slow. I felt no adrenaline rush and wanted to see moments that would make me cling to the edge of my seat trying not to fall off. Open Grave did not do this.
Perhaps there’ll be an extended version in the future, which would be nice, along with some decent bonus features which are surprisingly lacking in this release.