Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Open Graves”
By: Brian Cotnoir
So American Film Studios have a bad habit of taking good foreign films and Americanizing/ Bastardizing the hell out of them. Well in Europe they have a habit of taking crappy American films and making an even crappier version of whatever film they’re ripping off. So when you take a screenplay written by a Father-Son Team, and give a Spanish Director, with little filmmaking experience, a couple of B-List Actors you get a film like “Open Graves”, and it is bad.
“Open Graves” is a film set in Spain and it starts off during the “Spanish Inquisition”, and we see a witch (who we later find out is named “Mamba”) being tortured to death for here “crimes [against the church, presumably]”. The Monks/Priests/Christian leaders skin her alive and make a board game out of her skin. The film flashes forward to 500 years later and we are on the Spanish coast where we meet Jason (played by actor Mike Vogel) and his friend Tomas (played by Ethan Rains). Jason and Tomas are Graduate Students from America who are Spain to “find themselves”. While at a shopping market in a quaint Spanish Village Jason is given the game “Mamba” by a double-amputee named Malek. Jason accepts the game from Malek and that night at a party he and his friends decide to play it. The legend behind “Mamba” is that whomever wins the game will get any wish they so desire. The game play is simple you roll the dice and you can land on one of two possible squares: Heavens gate (the safe zone) or Open Grave (draw a card/you lose). So anyways, after playing the game Jason’s friend start dying from some horrendous and mysterious deaths. Jason’s new love interest (played by Eliza Dushku) notices that the death of Jason’s friends sound similar to the fates they got in the cards they drew in “the Mamba” game. So is this all just merely a coincidence or is this all a part of “Mamba’s” sinister revenge from beyond the grave.
This film is “Final Destination”. Actually I take that back. This film is an even crappier version of “Final Destination”. Of all the American Horror films that they could have ripped off, why did they choose “Final Destination”? “Final Destination” wasn’t even that good of a film; I didn’t even like they idea/story to “Final Destination”, and I have no idea how the hell they’ve gotten the funding and the demand to make five of them! So that is the first thing wrong with this film.
|I'd rather be playing Jumanji|
Oh and let’s talk about “Mamba: the Game” for a quick second. You know for a game that is supposedly over 500 years old and was created in Spain, it sure was convenient for our American Characters that all the cards to the game were written in English, I mean, that way they at least didn’t have to ask someone to translate the cards meanings for them. Seriously, were the screenwriters just too lazy to give a bilingual character a couple extra lines of dialogue so they didn’t have to translate the cards into English from Spanish or even Latin? That is a pretty huge plot hole!
|The CGI in the in film is atrocious!|
My third problem I had with this film was the crappy CGI. Oh your God, the CGI in this film is terrible. All the animal/creatures in this film are done in CGI and they all look terrible. The first CGI animal you see in this film is a dragon fly and what does the dragon fly do? He flies by the head of one of the guys who lost in “Mamba” and he get’s freaked out so much that he falls off the cliff he was standing by (while taking a piss). Who the hell is afraid of a freaking Dragon Fly? Never mind the even more obvious question of who the hell stands by the side of a cliff to take a piss? We also get some CGI snakes and CGI crabs, and they all look terribly cheap!
|You're too good for this film, Eliza!|
Eliza Dushku, you make me so sad sometimes. You’re a good actress. I enjoyed you in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Doll House”. You’re even good in films that are not good like “The New Guy” and “Bring it On!”, so why did you take this role? Part of me is really hoping that deep down she knew this was a terrible film, and that she only accepted it because it was a paycheck and she’d get to Spain to film it. According to the film she’s a “Goth with a wet suit”. Now, she’s not a Goth in this film like she is as Faith on “Buffy”, but rather she is classified as “Goth” because she reads old books and owns a Ouija board...that is an insult to “Goths” and people everywhere. That is stereotyping at its worst.
|LIES! DECEPTION & LIES!|
So some of you may be wondering why did I decide that this film might be worth giving a watch. My reasoning was simple. The girl on the DVD cover looked like a half-naked Eliza Dushku, and the film said it was Rated R for “Disturbing Images, Violence, and Brief Nudity”. I assumed/hoped that the “Brief Nudity” was going to come from Eliza Dushku, but instead I was disappointed to find that it only came from some old woman in a hospital. F*ck you, movie! F*ck You and your enticing, but deceiving DVD cover. So do yourself a favor and do not see “Open Graves. It is not worth your time.