Review: Open Grave (2013)

Open Grave is the new thriller/drama from Spanish director Gonzalo López-Gallego(Apollo 18) and writers Eddie & Chris Borey. The film stars Sharlto Copley (Elysium/District 9/Maleficent), Thomas Kretschmann (Resident Evil: Apocalypse) and Josie Ho (Contagion).

We open boldly with a stylised shot of Sharlto (John/Jonah) gasping for breath and seeing only by candle-light; discovering for the first time his strange and scary situation, waking up in a huge pit of corpses having no memory of who he is, where he came from, where he is now or how he got there. He soon realises he is not alone however when he finds a house that is occupied by others in a similar predicament. None of them know how they got there or what connection they have with each other.

This plays like a mystery and has a similar feel in some ways to the TV show Lost. Details are revealed gradually to the characters as they try and discover who they are and what part they play in the story; in-particular who is responsible for all those dead bodies in the pit. The story for the most part how-ever avoids cliché and convenient plot devices which is refreshing and exciting. sharlto_copley_37282

Sharlto does a good job here of portraying a tortured soul with incredible depth and is ably supported by the rest of the cast; in-particular Kretschmann as the paranoid and unstable Lukas.

The film starts incredibly dark visually; even the clothes the characters wear are dark colours which results in a distinct lack of colour on screen. This gives the film it’s own strong visual style that continues to develop throughout the piece aided by a haunting and reflective score. The end shot of the film is beautifully poignant and certainly makes it worth watching the film all the way through and the story pays off in a big way. This film is admittedly more successful as a drama than an all out action or horror fest but this is what makes it stand out.

Open Grave is distributed in the UK by Signature Entertainment and is available now on DVD & On Demand.


Originally reviewed for Battle Royale with Cheese

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