The Graves (2009) - After Dark Horrorfest 4

Genre(s): Horror
Lions Gate || R - 88 minutes - $19.98 || March 23, 2010
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2010-04-17


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Brian Pulido
Writer(s): Brian Pulido (written by)
Cast: Clare Grant, Jillian Murray, Tony Todd


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • 5 Featurettes
  • Music Video


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

I must say that if filmmakers want to win my approval on horror films it always helps to have two insanely hot somewhat goth chicks running around for the duration of the movie. The Graves, the first in the latest installment of the After Dark Horrorfest 4 series, is an awesome thrill-ride that despite some major complaints about the lack of a script was fun enough for me to declare the best in the series this year.

Megan (Clare Grant) and Abby (Jillian Murray) are two sisters getting ready for the time of their lives. Well, one of them is, as Megan is moving soon and the two want to go out one last time for an awesome road trip. They start driving and become heavily lost in the middle of nowhere with nothing around them for clues as to where they are at. They spot a town in the distance and decide to stop by and get some food from the locals. The sisters meet Reverend Abraham (Tony Todd) who is consoling a person from his church and decide to leave after being somewhat creeped out. The waitress lets them know about a tourist attraction down the road and the sisters decide to go just for the heck of it.

Thatís when the trouble starts obviously, as it turns out that the abandoned attraction isnít just haunted but thereís a maniac killer on the loose! Oh no! The girls are forced to hide and cleverly outwit the maniac axe-wielder, but when they do manage to stop his rampage after heís killed off like five other people there in ten minutes, his body mysteriously disappears into the ground through some weird ghost monster. The girls are even more frightened now as they soon find out the entire town is in on the scheme to get people killed to feed an unknown source, and wonder if they are going to make it out alive. Can the two hot sisters survive their day in the abandoned ghost town or will Abrahamís servants get the better of them?

I loved this movie but itís disappointing to note that the series only goes downhill from here. The sisters are great in their respective roles, one as the rational the other as irrational as possible, and had me believing that my two precious Goth girls were going to perish at different points in the movie. Yeah, I said my precious, go away. They donít act as stupid as the other characters do in the rest of the series, which is a huge plus for me after bearing through the others movies. The sisters actually act fairly well and work together quite well as actresses.

That being said, the rest of the cast is non-existent, similar to the rest of the films in the series. Tony Todd does have a great cameo but sadly heís underused and his character heavily underdeveloped. I was disappointed that his character was so wooden and his accent so fake that it nearly had me in tears he hasnít had a bigger career. Heís literally in every freaking horror film I see lately yet never had a big successful film in at least ten years (Final Destination series doesnít count). The horror in the movie isnít really scary but merely gripping enough to get me to care that the sisters lived through the experience.

The Graves is my favorite movie of the series and one that I think is worth a purchase.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary with Brian Pulido: Pulido is quite entertaining to listen to (except for one feature below) during this entire track and kept me entertained enough to make it through the whole thing without yawning. He talks about everything to do with the film that I could think of and I strongly urge a listening to if you can manage to watch the film again with the valuable free time people consider useful.

Commentary with Francisca Pulido and Adam Goldfine: Iím not sure why there are two commentaries, and I think for the first time in writing reviews, I actually prefer Brian Pulidoís solo track rather than these two batting off of one another. They donít seem excited to talk about the film and tend to drag on about certain topics that arenít that entertaining.

Behind the Screams (21 minutes): This incredibly lengthy documentary goes behind the scenes of the movie to show you the vision of the director and interviews with the cast and crew. I found it to be quite enjoying, although hearing Pulido continually say ďummĒ every five seconds gets old real quick. The chicks are hot though, which is a huge plus.

Sound Designing (5 minutes): The audio guy shows you how a few scenes were mixed and gives his take on the film. Audio fanatics, unlike me, will enjoy this much more than any of us normal people ever will.

Plan to Actual (6 minutes): The crew shows the cast how to react in the shots shown and also what they are to be doing while the filming is going on.

Spot the Gnome (1 minute): The director talks about how he has to have a gnome in his movie at least once, and in this one, heís in the film twice. No, they donít tell you where heís at nor will you probably care.

Auditions (5 minutes): Yeah so I was all ready for a Tony Todd audition and instead the only auditions here are for the lame extras cast throughout the movie.

Vampires Donít Exist Music Video (3 minutes): Awful song, awful video, awful waste of time.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Presented in usual terrible DVD format, not the format, I mean the video quality, the flick looks fairly dreadful from the start. Once again the picture quality, not the film itself has major issues. Colors are slightly drowned out throughout the entire movie, and not only that, but insane amounts of grain and noise plague nearly every dang scene of the film. I will say though that on a bright spot there are several scenes that do look decent, mainly the outdoor ones in the sunlight, but other than that handful thereís nothing of interest here. This is just another average transfer for a movie far ahead of the rest of the pack.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the usual ďho-humĒ track that provides little in the way of excitement and little in the way of keeping me awake throughout the movie. Surround sound is used somewhat decently but I had too many instances of trying to tweak the sound from the action scenes to the dialogue scenes. Plus, I canít recall a duller gunshot in my viewing of horror films than this one provided me. What a giant letdown in the audio department here, as with a better audio track this just may have been a better film.



.::OVERALL::.

The Graves is the best of the After Dark Horrorfest 4, although Iím not sure exactly what that means. I enjoyed watching the two main chicks run around in skimpy outfits but I donít really know what the point of the movie really was now that I think about it. The video is average and the audio is slightly below my usual threshold. This one is the most packed of special features out of the 8 as well and honestly there were a few cool extras involved with this one. This is one DVD that youíd be graved to miss. That doesnít make any sense, I was just trying to include the title.