The Gravedancers review
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Plot:A group of young people desecrate the graves of 3 very unforgiving ghosts.
My Thoughts:Todays lesson is:Why we don't dance on the graves of the deceased while reciting odd poems which turn out to be pagan spells.
Review:Normally when a movie like "The Gravedancers" comes along one wonders what the heck were the writers thinking? Despite it's interesting and quite creative premise, this film does alot of self destruction early on but makes up for it with a pretty exciting climax. The film begins with an opening death scene similar to that of "Stay Alive" where a woman ends up being hung after being seemingly pushed off of her upstairs balcony by an unseen force. Fast forward later on, four friends Allison (Clare Kramer), her husband Harris (Dominic Purcell), Kira (Josie Maran), and Sid (Marcus Thomas) all come together for the funeral of one of their recently deceased friends, who died in a car accident. The first problem with this movie is the premise. These people are obviously not teens, but were described as teens in the movies overall premise which was attached to it for about a year and a half. What we're dealing with here are young adults, although when after the funeral...three of them (minus Allison) decide to return to the cemetery, get drunk, and recite a weird poem left at one of the headstones while dancing on three separate graves..you wouldn't know it. You would think these people...who seem to be in their mid 20's wouldn't even be taking part in acts like this. Number one, who goes to a cemetery for a freaking nightcap?? I mean I've been drinking with people before, and after we're done at one place no one ever blurts out "hey let's go on over to the old cemetery and get trashed while dancing on a few graves". Also if one of your friends suggests such a thing...maybe it's time to seek some new friends. To make matters worse...Dominic Purcell's character is having a slight affair with Maran's character Kira. What a way to build up sympathy for your characters eh???? The whore, the philandering husband, and the guy who gets his jollies by visiting cemeteries while drunk. Anyhow, of course this act of drunken stupidity ends up thrusting the three kids into deep trouble when weird paranomal things such as loud noises, doors opening by themselves, and shadowy figures lurking in the darkness begin to happen to all three of them. Of course thanks to the films writers Brad Keene and Chris Skinner establishing all but one of the main characters as total wastes of flesh, the only person you can really feel sorry for is Kramer's character Allison, who not only is clueless about her husbands exploits, but also has to deal with a pissed off ghost haunting her residence and scaring the crap out of her. As if things weren't bad enough, the ghosts are very violent due to their actions before passing on to the next life. One of the ghosts is a pyromaniac kid, the other a female serial killer, and the last one a sadomasachist. Not only did the trio pick the worst late night activity ever (as if reading weird chants and dancing on graves is ever a good idea)...but they danced on the graves of three people who's restful slumber you would not want to disturb.
"The Gravedancers" doesn't ever get very action oriented until act two, which while for most movies would be a problem...Clare Kramer's performance and the very dark, spooky setting in most of the films scenes help to keep the viewer intrigued until things begin to pick up. In fact, you could say they overuse the whole "dark room" ploy in this film because almost every scene happens in a dark room. Even one scene involving Kira at the hospital is set inside a dark hospital room, which when you have a patient in serious condition would definitely be a hospital staff no no. As the hauntings begin to get worse and worse, and Kira ends up hospitalized from the abuse at the hands of the ghost who's grave she danced on, two paranormal experts come into the picture played by Tcheky Karyo and Megahn Perry. They pretty much break it down for the group that the ghosts are pissed, the poem you read was actually a pagan spell to awaken the dead, you're cursed thanks to your actions, and it's all your fault, and you know the usual scolding of people who do retarded shit and it ends up coming back to bite them in the ass. Karyo does an excellent job playing the character of Vincent who is sarcastic at times yet very wise. He does deliver some good news to the kids though, that there is a way to break the curse. Which kind of comes as a confusing turn of events because these ghosts aren't exactly *fearsome*. In a film where the writers try to get us to believe that these people have just signed their own death warrant by awakening these evil spirits, the spirits are really not any worse than anything I've seen in "Poltergeist" or Anthony C. Ferrante's "BOO". In fact, the ghosts from "House on Haunted Hill" (99) and "13 Ghosts" were far more aggressive and dangerous than these three who being a serial killer, a pyromaniac, and a deviant murderer, you would expect them to be making these peoples lives a living hell. Instead, they seem more content with screwing with their heads and just doing little things to let them know they're "around". Of course this is explained later on in the film when after the first attempt to break the curse fails (the reason it failed is revealed later in act three as a lame plot twist), Karyo's character Vincent tells the group that the ghosts will become more violent as the curses cycle nears it's end...which is exactly one month from the date of the grave incident. Of course the ghosts aren't going to let the kids get away that easily so act three is set up to take place on the night the curse is set to end, which is really where the film finally shines, as everyone is on the run from the three malevolent spirits who finally unleash the full brunt of their otherworldly powers in their attempt to kill everyone before the curse breaks. Some really great FX are used in alot of the scenes in the films climax, which is a pretty intense 20 minutes of action, suspense, and carnage. Of course the movie ends on the typical predictable note with yet another twist that depending on how clever you are, you'll have figured out long before the end of the movie. "The Gravedancers" for all it's intentions doesn't really use what it has at it's disposal well enough to be a great ghost movie, but rather a decent one. While it certainly does give hope to those of us who are desperate to see something new and fresh done with ghost films, it doesn't give hope to those of us who are tired of seeing good material wasted by bad writers. This movie could've really been turned into something scary. Instead...it wound up living up to only half of it's potential.
Positives:Clare Kramer gives a great performance as the overly loyal and sometimes nieve Allison. Great special FX at the end of the movie. Tcheky Karyo gives an awesome performance as well.
Negatives:Too many unidentifiable characters. Honestly, it's not good to give three of your four main characters severe character flaws, and then thrust them into a situation where the viewer is supposed to root for their survival. The ghosts were very lame but finally fulfilled some expectations in act three. The twists didn't work as well as they should have, and the blood and gore levels were very low. The story was not very solid either.
Overall:Worth a view but don't hold any high expectations like I did.
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