Written by Chris and Eddie Borey, with Gonzalo López-Gallego in the director’s chair, Open Grave is a fragmented piece of genre work that takes us down a non-linear path towards confusion. Jonah (Sharlto Copley, District 9, Elysium, Maleficent) wakes up in a pit full of dead bodies with no memory. After climbing over the bodies, he finds his way to a secluded home in the country where he confronts a group of strangers that may hide the killer. Jonah (we find out his name later) is openly hostile when he draws on the group, demanding answers about the pit, who he his, who they are; the usual thing from protagonists in this predicament. Tempers flare, guns are leveled, but cooler heads prevail. The strangers introduce themselves on a first name basis, all sharing the same prologue of waking up in the pit. Even with some latent familiarity, the group can’t establish a common thread that would place them together.
The beginning of Open Grave piqued my interest. I was curious about the setup, I enjoyed Copley in his earlier films, the production value is high; but then I slowly started noticing the dialogue after the initial chaos wore down. The script is terrible. It’s so poorly written and often times acted, I was a little surprised Copley took part in such a clunky production. I found the ensemble characters one-dimensional, lacking any real charm or solid acting chops besides Copley, and he had a few bad deliveries as well.
The problems with films of this nature, the ones with a plot that works backward, or slowly reveals little bursts of information over long periods of time, is that the film must eventually show skill in linking the pieces together with an interesting presentation. The lion’s share of the work is in the story, and without a solid core, the rest of the film is fluff even when things seem to be connecting.
Weak script, lacking story, poorly acted and executed, nonsensical plot – all reasons to spend your time on something else. If you have a strange sense of horror, you dig this up on Blu-ray and DVD July 15th from Cinedigm and Tribeca Film