2010 After Dark Horrorfest: The Graves (2010)

Ya got a little something on your lip sweetie!!

Here we are folks; it’s that time of year again.  This year’s After Dark Horrorfest 2010 is upon us.  My good friend Shaun May over at Wreckhouse Magazine (visit their website here) sent me over the early release copies of the eight flicks in this year’s horrorfest.  I’ll be watching and reviewing them over the next few nights, so stay tuned.

Our first one is The Graves.  This is the story of two sisters, Megan and Abby Graves (played by Clare Grant and Jillian Murray respectively) who are having a last hurrah.  Megan is moving to New York City to start a new job and the sisters are trying to get in some good last minute sisterly bonding.  Driving through Arizona they decide to stop at an abandoned haunted gold mine that is now a tourist trap.  During their self-guided tour they are attacked and chased around by a maniac with a hammer.  But he is only the start of their problems.  And this is also the start of our problems.  This one isn’t too good folks, but unlike past Horrorfest movies the problems here aren’t with the performances or the pacing.  It’s in the story and the execution.

Cuties, but Clare (right) can't act!!

First; the performances.  Besides our sexy-ish sisters this movie also stars Tony (Candyman) Todd and Bill (The Devil’s Rejects) Moseley.  They are both iconic horror actors and here they are completely wasted.  Todd gives what is becoming his trademarked “crazy preacher”-like performance.  He walks around spouting out fire and brimstone sermons to his misguided flock.  You’ve seen him do this act before, and while he’s good at it it just has that “been there, done that” feel to it.  And Bill Moseley also plays his standard “he seemed like a good guy at first” character who is actually a raving psycho.  At one point when he’s hunting down our sisters he puts on a rubber pig’s nose and runs around grunting like a pig and screaming “suuu-ey.” Only Moseley could pull such a role off without it looking completely retarded!!

Ya know Moseley gives all his roles 100%!!

And the last performance that I must point out is Clare Grant’s.  Oh Clare.  I loved her in the Master’s of Horror episode “Valarie on the Stairs,” and she has a great wholesome look and a great rack.  But she over-stepped her abilities here.  I don’t think she was ready for a lead role.  Her performance, marked with over-acting and pandering to the camera, was definitely the weakest in the movie.

You know the EXACT role Todd is playing!!

Next; the story and execution.  Simply put the story is a fucking mess.  It seems this small Arizona town has been harboring a demon who can’t kill on its own so it releases some foul smell that makes the town-folk crazy.  The townies kill any visitors who come by and believe they are doing the lord’s work, for some reason.  The demon then sucks the souls out of the fresh corpses to feed.  We only get to see the “soul sucking” scene once and it was a pretty decent effect.  But after that one time the camera turns away as the demon ravages the dead body.  Disappointing.  And since we’re on the topic of the f/x, they are terrible.  There are no practical f/x in the entire flick; everything from a head getting beaten by a hammer to blood spraying all over is done with CGI.  And it looks extremely fake.  Blech.

I think she's waiting around for a lucid plot!!

And in a weird move we pretty much know about the soul-sucking demon from the first 30 minutes of the film but director Brian Pulido acts as if we have no idea what’s going on.  When one of the town’s folk gives us the “big reveal” you’re kinda sitting there like “Ok; I figured that’s what was going on.  Is that it?” It’s very anti-climatic.  And the decision to title the movie after the two lead sisters was a bad mistake.  First off, are the sisters really supposed to be the focus of the story?  If more focus was placed on the demon and its relation to the townies then we may have had a better movie here.  By naming the movie after the sisters you never feel that Megan and Abby are ever in any real danger.  Sure they get messed up a bit, but you never really fear that either sister is going to get killed off.  And why would you?  The movie’s named after them!!

Punk band Calabrese with the "sisters".

The beginning of the flick had promise (there’s even a cameo performance by the group punk-metal band Calabrese).  There was still a little bit of mystery as to what was going on.  You know people are getting killed in this town but you also know there’s more to it than simply a crazy family on the loose.  But Pulido blows his wad too soon and with the mystery disappearing, so does your interest.  Pulido also flirts with the idea of briefly turning the movie into a torture flick (when Grant and Moseley are facing off).  You get the feeling the movie doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up, so it decides to be a huge mess.  On the plus side, The Graves does have better production values than most Horrorfest flicks and the pacing is definitely a step above other Horrorfest entries.  But unfortunately there’s not enough to keep you interested.  The final part of the film just completely falls apart.  After the sisters are caught and escape unharmed for the 57th time, the movie just sorta ends.  In the end the demon enters Tony Todd’s body and Todd looks up into the camera and utters the film’s last dialogue in a guttural, demonic-sounding voice:  “We are legion; we are many.” WTF??  Really???  If the demon could enter Todd’s body, then why the fuck didn’t it do so before?  Oh whatever; that’s but one mystery for the movie.  I think Pulido was more interested in setting up a sequel than he was in just giving it a good ending.  And by the way, Pulido is working on The Graves 2: Return to Skull City.  Again, blech.

Director Brian Pulido or member of Loverboy???

I really need to mention one last thing about this flick and that’s the absolute shameless self-promotion by director Pulido.  Pulido has created, written, and co-written numerous graphic novels and in the opening scenes of the movie we see Megan and Abby in a comic book store holding up copies of Pulido’s comics to the camera talking about how much they love them.  And then we see a mile-long banner advertising a website (which I won’t name here).  Really Brian?  That was just really poor judgment on his part.

Hopefully the next 2010 After Dark Horrorfest flicks that I review will be better.  I can’t help it, I’m a hopeful optimist!!  But as far as this one goes, you can skip it.

My Summary:

Director:  Brian Pulido (and writer)

Plot:  1.5 out of 5 stars

Gore:  2 out of 10 skulls (for terrible CGI f/x)

Zombie Mayhem:  0 out of 5 brains

Reviewed by Scott Shoyer

In case you don't know, THIS is the band Loverboy. See what I mean?

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13 Responses to “2010 After Dark Horrorfest: The Graves (2010)”
  1. Ifaz says:

    I made a HUGE mistake watching this film. It was so boring. And Clare Grant is like a worse version of Megan Fox here. The only person who made a difference is Jillian Murray, I’ll be keepimg an eye on her.

    Of ADH, I’m excited about Dread, The Final, Kill Theory and ZMD.

    • Goddamn Ifaz … I couldn’t have said it better about Clare Grant being a worse version of Megan Fox. I was really gob-smacked about how absolutely bad an actress Grant is. Just terrible.

      And how could a movie written/directed by a guy who wrote some pretty decent comics & staring Bill Moseley & Tony Todd be so fucking boring??? Talk about a lazy script!!

      I’ve seen 4 of the new After Dark Flix (The Graves, Dread, Lake Mungo, & Kill Theory) & so far only Dread is good. I just posted my review of Dread & will be writing my reviews for the other 2 ADH tonight. So far not a good collection of flix (except Dread).

  2. goregirl says:

    I quite like that promo poster, but the film sounds awful! I seen a trailer for this film at the Rue Morgue Festival Of Fear last August and I must admit, I was intrigued. I cannot stand when the same victim(s) repeatedly escape the killers. That’s a huge piss off for me. If you are a bad ass killer and your victim escapes just once you should immediately hobble them if you catch them! Or some like punishment that would prevent them from a second escape. The shameless self promotion bit almost made me choke on my sandwich! Freaking hell! Does not sound like a film I want to go out of my way to see.

    • From a friend, Goregirl I implore you to skip on The Graves. it’s a mess if a movie that isn’t enjoyable at all. The only thing enjoyable was Moseley’s performance & he was in it for like 10 minutes.

      It was a total misfire from every cannon. And you wouldn’t believe how bad an actress Clare Grant is!!

  3. l3pr3chaun says:

    Dude, the director is totally the drummer from Loverboy! Great call! ROFL! Everybody’s Working for the Weekend! Check him out in all his early 80′s glory!

    After this review he should ask them if they would take him back because he actually can play some drums and make really cool painful facial expressions while playing! He should have kept his day job with Mike Reno and the boys! LOL

    • l3pr3chaun says:

      See this is what you get when you recruit your lead actress from an 80′s music video shoot. Apparaently our director Brian Pulido was lovin every minute of it!

      Sorry I couldn’t resist!

    • At first I was just kidding around about the director being the drummer from Loverboy, but after really looking at both pics closely I started looking up both guys to make sure they weren’t actually the same guy!!! Do ya think Mike Reno was the 2nd unit director??

      • l3pr3chaun says:

        Mike Reno would never settle for 2nd unit. He is actually more like the “Key Grip” just look at the way he handles the mike and works the camera in those videos and it’s a dead giveaway! Speaking of Loverboy’s greatest contribution they provided the soundtrack to this brilliant routine and may both dancers R.I.P.:

      • That is one of my all time favorite sketches in SNL history!! I never really stopped to think that both people involved in it died too young!! Its sad, but its also a great sketch from back when SNL was actually funny!!

  4. silentpr says:

    I read a article under the same title some time ago, but this articles quality is much, much better. How you do this?

    • Thanks so much for the kind words on the review of The Graves. Not sure how to answer your question as to “how do I do this” … I just start writing and the magic happens LOL

Check out what others are saying...
  1. Mperience! says:

    [...] From Brian Pulido's The Graves Featured In Calabrese Music Video 2 Jul 2009 by Ken Hulsey 2010 After Dark Horrorfest: The Graves (2010) 20 Mar 2010 The Graves (2010) 27 Sep 2005 by theNomad var mLink = null; var mProvider = [...]

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  • Some of my favorite horror movies:
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)

  • Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987)

  • Martyrs (2008)


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