I’m going to try and say as little as possible about the plot. Actually, nothing about the plot would be best. Some people spend the entire time watching a movie like this trying to “figure it out” or whatever. Which is fine and all but disrespects the movie to a degree. I’m not one of those people but even if I were, I seriously doubt it would help much. The story has quite a bit of mystery to it. You don’t really know much more than the characters for most of the run time, but it’s a good thing. It isn’t frustrating/mysterious like David Lynch or something, and there is a pay off in the third act. I’m not a particularly dumb man but a couple things I was still vague on at the end, but I prefer that to being beaten over the head with explanations or a narrator.
Boasting a cast including the fantastic Josie Ho and Sharlto Copley from Elysium, Open Grave hits the ground running with a great opening and keeps you guessing quite a bit as to what’s going on. The entire cast were very good and considering such an accomplished movie viewer as myself hadn’t figured things out within the first twenty minutes that was a good sign. The progress of the story is well paced and the style is gritty and quite violent at times. It’s a smart enough movie in a world where that’s a rare thing. It does cover some familiar ground however is all wrapped up and executed under a fresh feeling approach enough to have it result in a very enjoyable thriller/horror flick. Reminded me much on the fantastic and cinematic video game The Last of Us.
The cinematography is ambitious, the music and sound are used subtly and with good effect, and the film’s first quarter drags you in well and you want to know on earth happened just as much as the characters in the film. But as they begin to interact, it all goes wrong. The dialogue is forced and unnatural, their decision making strange, and the American accent by South African Sharlto Copley distracts, especially when you are trying to understand someone who has just woken up not knowing who he is. As the film gets past the hallway point, it loses its direction.
It’s a little slow at times, mostly, I think because the viewer should be trying to determine what the heck is going on. It’s as if they slowed the pace on purpose to allow time to think about what just happened. That does work, but I had only a little idea of what the real motivation of the film was by the time we actually find out. The movie is well worth seeing and although it pushes a couple of weird buttons about some potential challenges, I’d be surprised if you figure it out before the climax. A slightly above average film that welcomes the return of Josie Ho to the big screen.