Open Grave (2013)
“The moment you wake up, the nightmare begins.”
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Thomas Kretschmann, Josie Ho
Synopsis: A man wakes up in the wilderness, in a pit full of dead bodies, with no memory and must determine if the murderer is one of the strangers who rescued him, or if he himself is the killer.
Open Grave begins strongly with Sharlto Copley (Elysium, Oldboy) awakening at night from what we later learn is a drug-induced coma to find himself lying in a pit full of corpses. He has no recollection of who he is and how he came to be in an open mass grave, and no way of getting out until an Oriental woman (Josie Ho) throws down a rope. The man finds his way to a house in the woods where a group of strangers are arguing. They too are suffering from amnesia, having awoken in the house shortly before the man’s arrival. It’s an intriguing set-up, confounding expectations that they’re either in purgatory or ensnared in some variation of the twist in James Mangold’s Identity. In truth, the reveal is something of a let-down that leaves too many questions unanswered, and by the time it finally arrives, the persistent impenetrability of the mystery has chipped away at our patience. Sharlto Copley has the makings of a decent character actor if he can get away from the villainous roles, but his character here is, by necessity, too hesitant and unsure to make much of an impression. But at least he makes an impression, which is more than can be said for the rest of the cast. Open Grave isn’t a complete disappointment, but it’s one of those movies that leaves you thinking it could have been a whole lot better.
(Reviewed 8th November 2014)