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Open Graves - horror DVD review
OPEN GRAVES Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 stars
Actors: Eliza Dushku, Mike Vogel, Naike Rivelli, Lindsay Robba, Jose Casasús, Lilliam Kouri
Director: Álvaro de Armińán   Studio: Lions Gate
DVD release: 23 February 2010   Runtime: 88 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish)

Eliza Dushku stars in OPEN GRAVESOk, tell me if you've seen this one before...

In Open Graves, seven PYPs (pretty young people) who meet at a European beach sit down to play a board game from the 15th century. One of the friends was given the game by a mysterious legless man from a dusty shop located in the back of a dark corridor (the card was created in Spain, yet the cards are in English... Never mind).

The game works as follows: players move down the board until they draw a "death card," which spells out their fate in an enigmatic riddle. The last player remaining then has to solve one final riddle: guess wrong and die; guess right, and a wish is granted.

If this sounds like a bad late-night movie played on the SyFy channel, well, it is (it premiered there). It has many of the ingredients of one of their typical offerings: a generous helping of the Final Destination series, a dash of Jumanji and Elisha Dushku (who is gorgeous as usual, yet always seems to find herself in these types of movies).

Elisha is the only familiar face in the movie and, as might be expected, gives the best performance. She and the male lead, Mike Vogel, are also the only Americans in the cast. The foreign actors are not terrible, but it seems clear that English is their second language, which hampers their performances (the main cop in the movie in particular seems to struggle with his English).

The movie is not scary at all but should get some credit for a few rather creepy scenes, most notably a character who dies from rapid aging (a la David Bowie in The Hunger) and another who disturbingly sprouts new limbs. However, other effects, such as a "death by snakes" scene, are hampered by poor and obvious CGI.

Last but not least, the ending is painfully obvious. I won't give it away, but its overall effectiveness is ruined because it is all brought about by one character's stupid decision.

Open Graves is not the worst horror movie I've seen, but not the best either. It's best viewed at 2am on a night when you can't get to sleep. It might help.
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reviewed by Trent Daniel
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