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Open Graves (2010)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Open Graves (2010) This movie got my attention from the beginning, with some horrific images of torture in the Middle Ages. Then it's to a beach shore in the present day. Here, Jason (Mike Vogel of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake) is a surfer/graduate student in Spain who is given a weird board game called Mamba by an amputee store shop owner. The goal of the game is to win and if you win you will have your wish granted, whatever it is He meets another American, Erica, and there's some mutual interest. When Jason gets his friends together, including best friend Tomas and his girlfriend Lisa, he invites Erica to join. If you get an "Open Grave" card you can continue to play the game. But if you get an epitaph card then it's over and you're a loser. Literally.

A guy named Pablo is the first one who loses, so he goes on a beer run. But he ends up stopping by the side of the road to urinate over the edge of a cliff, which is a mistake since he slips and falls. The fall doesn't kill him but it paralyzes him so that the many crabs can finish the job. They pick out his eyes with their pincers. When the police show up to inform them of their friends untimely death, they stop the game. Jason and Erica are still in the running.

The next to die is Miguel, who is bitten to death by a whole slew of Black Mamba vipers, which aren't even native to Spain. This freaks out the four remaining friends who wan't to believe it's a coincidence. But as they say, things happen for a reason. They lost. The next victim is Lisa, who has a a very different sort of fate, which ties into her being a model. Jason does a web search and gets some info about the game, which is said to be made from the skin and blood of a witch that was killed by Torqemada during the Spanish Inquisition over four hundred years before.

Jason and Tomas track down the guy who gave Jason the game and it looks like his wish came true because he re-grew his legs. The only hope of "fixing" all this is for either Jason or Erica to continue the game and win and then wish that none of this ever happened, that they were all back in time a week ago and all still alive.

Of course, the ending is obvious and it kind of put a damper on the whole thing. OPEN GRAVES lacks the suspense of THE FINAL DESTINATION movies and actually has more in common with HELLRAISER. While the physical effects are good, much of the computer generated effects, such as those goofy cartoon snakes, are lacking. Even fans of Eliza Dushku won't be too happy that she's underutilized in the movie--it's sort of like a cameo that extends for the entire movie. If you haven't seen a horror movie in the past twenty years then you may enjoy it.

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Rating: 6.0 out of 10.0 - 2 votes cast total
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