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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Open Grave (2014)


First reviewed movie of 2014, and what a bummer it is.

A man (Sharlto Copley) wakes up, after what seemed to be quite the slumber party, in a pit full of mutilated corpses. He has no idea how he got there, who he is, or what he has done, all that he does know is that where he’s at right now is not good and he needs to get out as soon as possible. Eventually, he does and he begins to walk around the wilderness when he spots a deserted cabin in the middle of it all. Inside this cabin, he stumbles upon five other people who have the same problem he has: No memory of who they were, are, or how they even got here in the first place. But to make matters worse for this guy is the fact that he was found at the top of this grave, meaning that he looks a tad bit more suspicious than these others who just woke up and found themselves inside this cabin. Though they definitely are curious about all of each other, the group decides to set-out and figure out where the hell it is that they are and how they can escape, all in one piece mind you. However, strange things begin to happen and sooner than later, people start getting knocked-off one by one, just as soon as they begin to remember things about their previous-lives. Also, there’s a calender located inside the cabin that has the 15th of the month circled. Why is that? Be ready to find out!

"This is to all of those haters who preferred the original Oldboy to the remake!!"

“This is to all of those haters who preferred the original Oldboy to the remake!!”

This not one of those times.

The first 20 minutes of this movie were pretty good because of the way it stuck itself to the former. We literally see this dude wake up, have no clue what happened, find a group of people who are just as clueless as he is, find themselves in a situation, and do the best they can with trying to get out of the said situation, while also trying to remember things about their past-life. It’s interesting to watch, because you could think of all the possibilities of what could happen and why, and director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego definitely seems just as interested as we are with the rest of the movie. But, once we get a couple or so flashbacks inside the mind of these characters, then it all comes pretty clear that not only do we have any clue where this story could go or end up, but neither does Lopez-Gallego himself.

With a movie like this, it’s okay to be as vague and as confusing as you want, but it has to be done in a way that makes you, the viewer, feel like it’s working to something that’s not only going to completely and utterly blow your mind, but change the way you thought about the film prior to this point-in-time. That never happens here and that’s a huge problem because most of these movies bank on that huge, surprise twist at the end that shakes things up. Without giving too much away, there are some brief moments where we see characters start to have their brains racked-over memories they had that could either lead them to understand why they are where they are, or what their relationships were with the others around them. In some rare cases in this movie, this leads to some interesting directions that I didn’t quite see coming right off the bat, but once the first-hour is finally over and said with, the movie’s practically thrown all of those possibilities and ambitions to the side.

Just as soon as the hour-mark passes by, we are then thrown into a “suspense-thriller” that not only has the slightest idea of where it’s going to end-up, but doesn’t care about logic at all. Instead, the movie seems like it’s just throwing one ludicrous idea, one-after-another, almost to the point of where the movie just lost my interest because it just seemed to be pointless. This also substitutes any chance of character-development the first two-halves may have been working with and rather, we’re just left sitting and watching a bunch of characters we don’t feel diddly-squat towards, as they try and figure out who’s bad, who’s good, why they are here, how they can get the heck out of this situation and where the end in sight may be. And even when characters begin to get knocked-off, one by one (as they predictably do in faux-horror flicks like this), there’s no emotional-attachment whatsoever and it just feels more like a good riddance, rather than a piece of us being lost.

Why can't condos be in the middle of the woods?

Why can’t condos be in the middle of the woods?

Because don’t we all just long for a sincere, heartfelt human-connection with anybody? Even characters from a B-grade thriller? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me and my neediness after all!

However, it’s not even like the performances themselves aren’t that good, it’s just that the movie doesn’t really give a lick about them. Sharlto Copley had a pretty stacked-2013 in which he played it so over-the-top in movies like Elysium and Oldboy, you would wonder if he was even allowed in a single public library across the globe (if they still exist). But here, as the soon-to-be-named protagonist, he’s surprisingly effective at just down-playing his act and gives us a guy that you don’t know if you can trust, or even want to be around in a situation like this. Yet, there are brief-snippets of humanity that has this guy go a long while, even when it seems like he is at his most morally questionable. However, the best performance of this cast is Josie Ho as a mute gal known as “Brown Eyes” who, as you guessed it, is able to convey any emotion she may be feeling based solely through her eyes and body-motions. She’s the stand-out here, but considering that nobody else is really given much to do at all, it’s not really worth praising as much as it is noting, I guess. Oh well, she’s good! And I’ll just leave it at that!

Consensus: Starts off moody, interesting and chock-full of promise, but once the clues start to show and the possibilities seem overly-endless, then Open Grave begins to spill-out into nothing more than another typical, run-of-the-mill thriller with a few good moments and performances to be seen along the way.

5 / 10 = Rental!!

If you can get past the horrendous smell of rotting, mutilated corpses, it's actually pretty romantic. Dare I say it, titilating?

If you can get past the horrendous smell of rotting, mutilated corpses, it’s actually pretty romantic. Dare I say it, titillating?

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

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25 responses to “Open Grave (2014)

  1. caragale January 3, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Bummer! I’d heard good things about this. I may still try to check it out though…We’ll see. Nice review, Dan!

  2. Tom January 3, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Good review man. I remain divided about this one. I like Sharlto Copley enough, but the premise doesn’t sound really that good or even that logical. You haven’t given me the greatest amount of hope that the film carries its strengths in the last half, either. Which is a shame. (Not your fault, the review is good, but maybe the movie just isn’t.)

  3. Nostra January 3, 2014 at 6:08 am

    That’s a shame, was looking forward to this as Copley is awesome…guess I’ll still give it a chance.

  4. Joseph@thecinemamonster January 3, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Copley is really good in this, as usually. The story, although predictable once it becomes clear, is so captivating. I think it’s the way they play it out that’s so enthralling. Other than that, it did lack any real substance. Still enjoyed it though. Excellent write up :).

    • CMrok93 January 4, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks man! I saw you liked it so I expected a comment some time. It was fine, but it just didn’t do much to compel me. More or less, it just disappointed.

  5. thomasjford January 3, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Interesting Dan, I’ve never heard of this I’ll be honest. I don’t seem to have missed much going by your review!

  6. greercn January 3, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Great review and I totally agree with you. I really like Copley and he has some great scenes, but these don’t compensate for the fragmented sense of the whole movie. I hate the ending, too.

  7. angie chui January 3, 2014 at 11:02 am

    still not showing in the theaters here but I might give it a swing when it comes. I’m a sucker for these kinds of movies. lol :D great review tho

  8. jjames36 January 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    That’s very disappointing. Was hoping this would be better than that. Maybe I’ll have a more positive experience, whenever I finally get the chance to see it. :-)

  9. Whit's Movie Reviews January 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I had heard good things so this is a bit of a bummer. Think I’ll skip this one. Nice review.

  10. The Hot Rod January 3, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Awww crap. I saw the trailer for this and thought it looked terrific, but to hear it’s not up to snuff is disappointing. I’ll be checking it out regardless though, so i’ll keep my expectations suitably low.

  11. guysfilmquest January 4, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    I’m almost glad you gave this movie a 5/10. I don’t particularly look forward to seeing movies with titles/concepts that are this dark, and now that it’s not highly rated, I’ll probably pass on it.

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