Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Gravedancers (2006)

The Gravedancers

Written by Brad Keene & Chris Skinner
Directed by Mike Mendez

Harris...Dominic Purcell
Allison...Clare Kramer
Kira...Josie Maran
Sid...Marcus Thomas

Kira, Sid, Harris and Dev.  They were inseperable in college, a foursome full of romantic soap opera antics and your typical university drunken buffoonery.  But somewhere along the way, following graduation, some of them grew up and they all grew apart.  Harris even got married, causing no shortage of tension between his new wife Allison and his one-time flame Kira.

Then Dev got dead.  And in the days following his passing, the three remaining members of the group reunited for the first time in years.  They catch up, they reminisce, and they partake in what (according to the synopsis on Netflix) is a "heartfelt Irish wake".  That is to say, they get drunk, betray the trust of their significant others, dance on a few graves to some rockabilly music, and pass out with their heads atop tombstones.  You know, the traditional stuff.

A short time later, as the trio attempt to go back to their regular routine, Strange Things begin to happen.  Little do they know that their cemetery Riverdance routine has awakened a group of evil spirits--one for each of them--who have one full month to haunt, torment, and ultimately execute them before they are dragged, kicking and screaming, back into the afterlife.

This film is the very definition of an uneven movie.  The acting is sometimes strong, sometimes passable, and sometimes just plain bad.  Dominic Purcell, previously of Prison Break, is still stuck in the lumbering, monotone meloncholy of his Lincoln Burroughs character from that show.  It worked very well there (Prison Break is one of my all-time favorite shows, and damn the haters), but doesn't work here.  When you're being pursued by the spirit of an axe-murdering piano teacher, a little inflection is probably a necessity.

The pacing is likewise a little rough, alternating between painfully slow and pretty exciting.  There is a good scene that takes place in the cemetery at night--which is when things begin to pick up--but when it finally happens, you have to ask yourself if the wait was really worth it.

The special effects are decent, but truthfully a little pointless at times.  I never understand when horror movies make their ghosts up to look all distorted and monstrous.  It seems to me that they would either look like they did in life, look like they did in the instant of their death, or look like they did in the grave.  But appearing (relatively) normal, save for an epic rictus grin?  That would only truly work for the ghost of Mr. Sardonicus.

Hmm...The Ghost of Sardonicus!  Now there's a movie I would like to see.  Maybe they could get the ghost of William Castle to direct it.

In the end, a watchable but empty and easily-forgotten spookshow.  It's safe to leave this one on the shelf, unless you've already seen everything else in stock.

Rated R
95 Minutes
United States

"Read between the lines."

1 comment:

  1. Have to agree with you on this. The trailer looked promising and actually got me kind of stoked to see the film, but I was seriously disappointed, especially when it came to the cartoony ending.


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