Movie Review: 'Open Grave'

‘Open Grave’ is a genre-blending “horror” movie from director Gonzalo López-Gallego. Opening January 3, 2014 in select theaters, ‘Open Grave’ stars Sharlto Copley (‘Elysium’, ‘District 9’).

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The film opens as a man (Copley) awakens inside of a massive outdoor pit filled with dead bodies. Horrified and without memory as to how he got there, “John”  makes his escape with the help of a mysterious woman.

Beneath a fierce rainstorm, John stumbles into a nearby house, startling the arguing occupants inside.

The five strangers that John encounters also have no memory of who they are or how they arrived at this house. One thing is clear, all of them are in danger. But from what? Or, from whom?

‘Open Grave’ defies being pigeonholed into any one specific genre. At it’s best, the film is a somber human drama with some suspenseful, horrific elements.

To say more about the plot would be to ruin some of the fun of ‘Open Grave.’ Discovering what is really going on is what makes the film compelling. 

The production values are terrific. ‘Open Grave’ boasts  gorgeous cinematography by Jose David Montero and a lush score by Juan Navazo.

Director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s previous film, ‘Apollo 18’ should not dissuade genre fans from seeing ‘Open Grave.’ Where ‘Apollo 18’ suffered conceptually with its “found footage” shtick, ‘Open Grave’ is a suspenseful, intimately frightening offering.

Sharlto Copley proves to be a capable leading man as he continues to expand his resume in genre films.

From ‘Elysium‘ and ‘District 9’ with director Neill Blomkamp to his recent role in ‘Europa Report,’ Copley seems comfortable flexing his acting muscles in genre fare of late. There’s something likable, yet troubling, about his on-screen persona that serves ‘Open Grave’ very well.

If you prefer horror films with more of an intellectual, thoughtful side, ‘Open Grave’ may prove to be a pleasant surprise.

Flixnerd Rating: ★★★☆☆

‘Open Grave’ opens in limited release on January 3, 2014 and currently available via Amazon Instant

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