Arriving on DVD February 24th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment is Álvaro de Armiñán’s embarrassing Open Graves, a Jumanji-esque horror film that’s plagued with horrid acting, lame kills and shoddy CGI.
Eliza Dushku (Wrong Turn) and Mike Bogel (Cloverfild) star in the film that follows an international group of young surfers (super lame) that come into possession of an ancient artifact, Mamba, an old board game made from the skin and bones of a witch executed during the Spanish Inquisition (ohhhh creepy). At a drunken party one night, they casually decide to play (why wouldn’t you?). It’s all fun and games until they find out that their fates are sealed when they loses. Only the winner can set things right.
One of the first shocks of the film features a nail being pried off, a shot they show over and over again. When a movie opens with such ludicrousness, it’s impossible that anything worthwhile will follow. The FX are shoddy (the black mamba snack is hilarious) and ill conceived; they’re unoriginal, uninspiring and lackluster.
Conceived by Bruce and Roderick Taylor, the screenplay attempts to bring something new to the table, but ends up falling into cliché patterns (yes, the end is the most obvious conclusion possible). The characters are underdeveloped and the way the story unfolds is idiotic. The entire movie should have taken place over the course of one night, instead of breaking from the game play. It’s as if we watch a bunch of dolts playing a board game, then sit back and wait for them all to die, one by one, in yawn-inducing fashion.
What really kills the movie is the generic editing and crappy cinematography. The film looks cheap and lazy, right down to the camerawork by Álvaro de Armiñán. There’s nothing happening in the story, nor visually to keep the audience engaged.
Open Graves was dead on arrival. It’s a heartless rehash of various other films, but poorly executed. Not even the sight of Eliza Dushku can pull this movie out of the ground. The producers dug their own grave when they gave the green to the project before the screenplay was ready – and for that the movie deserves to be buried alive.