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The Gravedancers – Review

The Gravedancers – Review

Dec 31, 2010

reviewed by hallo
directed by Mike Mendez, 2006

There is a universal creed among horror movie lovers as it pertains to unknown films:  We live to stumble across that rare gem of a movie that nobody seems to know about and that delivers on all counts.  Let’s face it, for every 15 unknown horror movies we watch, we are lucky to find one that actually is worth the 90 minutes of viewing time.  I took a chance on a movie called The Gravedancers.  I was smiling at the end.

Mike Mendez, a director you have never heard of, takes a fairly bland idea of bringing the spirits of the dead back to life, and has a lot of fun with it.   Three old college buddies are mourning the death of their close friend and decide to visit the cemetery late at night for one last goodbye.  Drinking a little too much and stumbling across a card someone left behind with a rather bizarre poetic sentiment, the trio recites the poem and dances on three random graves.  That recitation (think Evil Dead) and dancing were not so good ideas since the ghosts of those three dead bodies are now out to kill whoever was dancing on their grave.  For Harris, it is an ax murderer.  For Kira, it is a rapist.  For Sid, it is an arsonist.  Once the three collectively realize they are being haunted, they consult some paranormal researchers.  Come to find out, they recited an ancient Irish curse that has now brought the spirits of these dead upon them and they won’t stop until the living are dead.  Actually, it seems that the dancing is really what ticked the dead people off, but I guess the poem was equally effective.  Anyway, after a lot of creepy interactions with the spirits, they finally discover the way to end the curse; dig up the bones of the dead and re-bury them.

This is old-school horror film making done pretty darn well.  I don’t care how many times you see it, whenever an old lady is playing a creepy tune on the piano with her back to you wearing a blood-soaked white gown, you just don’t want her to turn around!  Classic haunted house scares abound in this film, aka The Changeling, but they are not overdone and come across with a glitter of fright.  Mendez also makes sure he covered every possible location for filming that horror movies have been built around for year.  We find the trio being haunted in their house, in a hospital, in a cemetery, and in a Gothic looking mansion in which they get trapped.  One of the highlights of the film was the appearance of Tcheky Karyo as one of the ghosthunters.  Karyo is probably best known for his role as the French military hero in The Patriot alongside Mel Gibson.  He brings a mature and grounded element to The Gravedancers.

The movie certainly has its flaws.  The acting is sub-par, the dialogue is even worse, the audio has issues, and Mendez’s camera seems like it is not always where it needs to be.  Still yet, the look of the film is beautiful, the scares are plentiful, and the build-up of the film works nicely.  By the end, we are thrust into a world of complete paranormal psychosis, which is probably overdone, but I applaud the filmmakers for their willingness to show us what these old friends were actually dealing with.  I found myself laughing, fist-pumping, and at times, flinching throughout the movie.  Really, what more could I want?

If you have Netflix, check it out On Demand.  You will enjoy it.

Click Here to purchase The Gravedancers

One comment

  1. Scott /

    I watched this last night on Netflix at your suggestion and I agree with everything you said. This was a fun (and scary) movie!

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