Commentary on Movies and TV by Brian Holcomb

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


by Brian Holcomb

The title tells all in this jumbled mess of a horror film. After a funeral, several of the deceased’s old friends get the “Big Chill” and decide to celebrate life by dancing on some graves. Unfortunately they dance on the graves of three very pissed off psychos, whose ghosts rise, having exactly one month to kill their desecrators.

Mike Mendez made a fairly popular comic horror film several years ago called “The Convent”, and spent the next several years trying to raise funding for this ghost story. Why he felt so compelled to bring “The Gravedancers” to the screen escapes me, but I can imagine he thought it would be a fun William Castle type horror picture. With either a larger or smaller budget he may have achieved that goal.

As it is, the film is budgeted at the deathly mid-level, where a known French actor like Tch’ky Karyo (the bad guy in most Luc Besson movies, as well as Michael Bay’s “Bad Boys”) can be afforded, and the film has to abide by tight scheduling and union rules. A guerrilla styled DV version could’ve taken the concept and went Sam Raimi mad with it, inventing all kinds of unforgettable sequences that would take days to shoot.

While watching “The Gravedancers”, you just feel the need for more money, through effects that just don’t cut it, actors who really, really need that extra take, and “ghosts” that are little more than silly looking rubber mask affairs. And while Karyo lets us know that he knows he’s in a ridiculous movie by camping things up, he never lets the director or the other cast members in on the joke, and they seem to be incredibly square as a result.

“The Gravedancers”, while never boring, is not much above the level of the standard Sci Fi Channel production.


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