Open Grave ✮1/2
by Glenn Lovell
We don’t get many horror films from Hungary. So I was intrigued when I heard about “Open Grave,” a low-budget indie with an international cast led by Sharlto Copley of “District 9″ and “Elysium.”
This mix of conspiracy chiller and morbid parlor game, now available on PPV, opens with Copley jerking back to consciousness, only to discover that he’s knee-deep in rotting corpses. He was obviously left for dead. But why? He has no memory of how he got there. Or, for that matter, who he is.
No answers are forthcoming when he’s rescued by a young woman (Josie Ho) who turns out to be mute. She leads him to a house in the woods that’s occupied by four others, who, likewise, have no idea who they are or who’s responsible for the bodies in the mass grave.
“We all woke up in this house half an hour before we found you,” explains a blond woman (Erin Richards). The consensus: “What the hell’s going on?!”
Suspicion and paranoia soon rear their ugly heads as each person, in turn, reveals some preprogrammed talent (for guns, languages, medical procedures). A tour of the surrounding woods turns up little besides a wild woman and corpses chained to trees. Oh, yes, and there’s a howling man in his underwear tangled in barbed wire. Ouch!
Spanish director Gonzalo López-Gallego was at the helm. He specializes in genre head-scratchers, like last year’s “Apollo 18,” which fused found footage and lunar parasites, and “King of the Hill,” about two strangers running in circles, pursued by unknown assailants.
The bleak but well-shot “Open Grave” also goes in circles. It’s heavy on talk and conjecture, short on plot and suspense. The explanation for the amnesia and pandemic, I’m guessing, will elicit more yawns than yelps. It certainly won’t impress the more literal-minded fans of “World War Z” and George A. Romero’s “The Crazies.”
OPEN GRAVE ✮1/2 With Sharlto Copley, Erin Richards, Joseph Morgan. Directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego; scripted by Chris and Eddie Borey. 102 min. Rated R (for violence, gruesome makeup effects)