Wednesday, January 25, 2012

#527. The Graveyard (2006)

Directed By: Michael Feifer

Starring: Christopher Stewart, Sam Bologna, Trish Coren

Tag line: "Fear is buried here..."

The Graveyard is a 2006 horror film that goes through the motions of trying to scare you, but ultimately, its heart just isn't in it. 

What starts as an evening of fun in a local cemetery quickly turns to tragedy for a group of friends when one of their number, Eric (Mark Salling), is accidentally killed, the victim of a practical joke gone very wrong. Five years later, another of the friends, Bobby (Patrick Scott Lewis), is paroled after serving time for his part in Eric's death. To help Bobby come to terms with his new-found freedom, and to bring a sense of closure for the rest of them, the gang heads to a campsite for a weekend getaway. But somebody else has tagged along, a masked maniac who has no intention of allowing any of them to forget the past. 

The Graveyard opens on the night of Eric's death, and we're introduced to the characters by way of Jack (Leif Lillehaugen), the leader of the group, who stands inside the cemetery and calls each of them by name as they make their way in. Designed to establish what good buddies they all are, the scene instead comes across as forced and phony. Of course, once the killer gets down to business, this early transgression might have been forgiven, but unfortunately, those moments don't fare any better. Take, for example, the scene where Veronica (Eva Derrek), Jack's girlfriend, has her run-in with the masked psychotic. Looking to wash off after she and Jack had done the nasty, we watch as Veronica walks to the showers, and as she makes her way inside, the killer pops into view in the background. Once Veronica's started her shower, he walks through the front door, pulls down the curtain from another stall, and sneaks towards her. We even get shots of him waiting for her to finish, the camera shifting back and forth between Veronica bathing and him standing still. We know he's going to kill her, and thanks to him yanking down that curtain, we know how he'll do it. There's not even a jump scare; when Veronica finally does walk out, the killer just sorta strolls up to her. In this scene, and others, the filmmakers give us way too much information on the killer's activities, thus sabotaging any suspense there might have been in his various kills.  

Aside from one interesting twist about halfway through the film, there aren't many surprises to be found in The Graveyard. A slasher with no tension and zero scares, odds are you'll forget this movie shortly after you see it.

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