Movies From The Black Lagoon

Open Grave - 2013, Rated R

By Tom Doty - For The Floyd County Times

A man wakes up in a pit of corpses and, as if that wasn’t bad enough, he has no idea how he got there or even what his name is in this smart thriller ,which is miles better than its generic title.

Waking up in a mass grave is only the first challenge. Next comes trusting whoever is on the other side of the rope which is suddenly flung down to him. Turns out the lady on the other end can’t help much. She is mute and her written language is in Asian characters anyway so communication appear impossible.

Luckily she leads our man, John, to a house. There he finds four other young people. The bad news is that none of them remember their names. They search the abode for clues but only find identification Cards . Now they know their names but they are no closer to figuring out who they are in relation to each other.

A search of the grounds only intensifies the trouble . The group stumbles across a crazed woman who is being held down by manacle sin a shabby cabin. She appears afraid of John but otherwise can only make animalistic noise.

They find more questions than answers as they continue to search. A large building appears locked and the young boy inside refuses to come out. Once again it is obvious he fears John. Soon the others opt to act on this information by distrusting him too. Now you have a group finally united though it is in opposition to John though no one knows exactly why.

Soon enough they come across a videotape that proves John is a scientist . However the videotape shows that the others don’t agree with John’s methods. As a result they cast him out.

Meanwhile the group comes apart as one by one the members succumb to paranoia and hatred. It doesn’t help that they find corpses scattered all over the area and no clear way out on this remote region. Soon their memories start returning but the clock is ticking and they may not figure out what is going on before a recently landed militia wipes them out.

This is cool stuff that mixes together mystery , psychology, and medical thrillers. The story starts like something out of a “saw” movie until these strangers start to realize they may actually be friends who are under the effects of a mysterious illness.

The film turns out be a dynamite study of human relationships. Lots of sociology and psychology can be applied too as the group finally bonds over casting out a member . Can’t give away anything except to note that this one is worth watching until the final frame puts yet another spin on everything you have just seen.

This works thanks to an excellent screenplay by Eddie and Chris Borey. These guys fashion a wild story . Sadly it wound up sitting on a shelf until it made a list of the best ten unproduced screenplays. At that point a young director ,Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, got interested and managed to get the pages to the screen.

He gets ample help from a talented cast that is led by Sharlito Copley(Chappie),as John. Josie Ho is also good as the mute Asian woman who may know more than she can communicate. Erin Richards(Gotham’s Jane)has a few nice moments as the only one who trusts John without knowing why she is so loyal. Eventually your questions are answered but a second or third tiem through is definitely advisable.

Watch this carefully, there’s a lot going on.

Best Line: ” My dog will kill you. Now run away!”

Open Grave – 2013, Rated R

By Tom Doty

For The Floyd County Times

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