Open Graves (2009) Poster

(2009)

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2/10
Awful.
scott-mcgaffney30 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"Mr Producer, I have an idea for a movie."

"Oh, go on."

"We take the popular movies Jumanji and Final Destination."

"Ooh, yes?"

"Take out all of the bad bits that people didn't like."

"Yes, yes!"

"And combine all of those bad bits into a new movie and stick a God-awful ending on to wrap it together!"

"...what?"

SPOILERS BELOW, ALTHOUGH THE DIRECTOR SPOILED IT BEFORE ME.

Square jawed Captain America and his beach bronzed buddies have just graduated, presumably as rocket scientists or brain surgeons, since they're in their thirties. After some terrible, terrible banter and a brief love triangle that never surfaces again in the whole film, they decide to play a suspicious game that Captain America bought from a suspicious man in a suspicious shop. The games makes little to no sense, but that doesn't stop them ploughing on regardless. Whatever is stated on the cards in the game dictates the way they die. Groan.

A Jose Morinho look-a-like turns up and starts chasing them down as he wants the game. People steadily get knocked off as per the prophecies of the cards, but with none of the imagination of Final Destination. Captain America brokers a deal with some kind of hornet...woman...witch...thing that walks out of the sea, and is allowed to go back in time.

Roll back to the start of the movie to show that he has gone back one week and it's all just going to keep happening in a loop.

It's every bit as poor as my knocked up 'review'. It's not 'so bad it's funny', it's so bad that it's terrible.
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3/10
Cardboard characters and lots of CGI.
HumanoidOfFlesh23 October 2009
The plot of "Open Graves" is very simple:it's about a board game called Mamba,where the players die in real life the same way they die in the game.Laughable death scenes include killings via computer generated crabs and snakes.The characters are cardboard and deliberately annoying and there isn't even a tiny bit of suspense.I liked Eliza Dushku in "Wrong Turn",but she is completely wasted and unmemorable here.The climax with CGI-witch coming from the sea is utterly laughable and stupid.The only reason to see "Open Graves" are some interesting camera angles plus sexy Eliza Dushku.If such movies are the future of horror then I seriously give up.Give me any 70's or 80's low-budget horror flick over this modern piece of crap.A generous 3 out of 10.
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3/10
I should have just gone to bed
Bou20 September 2009
OK, so I know better than to watch movies on SciFi . . . er, sorry . . . SyFy. Or shifafa. Or whatever it is now. So sue me. I spent my whole Saturday doing advisory-board brainstorming for a nonprofit. I can be forgiven for flopping into my armchair and wanting to watch some movie I'd never seen, rather than read Proust in the original or learn how to play the oud.

Which is to say, I didn't deserve Open Graves. Of which I saw none, incidentally. Were there any? Did I fall asleep? Why is it called this?

Some icky visuals. Not many scares. As with too many films in modern horror films, no reasons are given--apart from shared humanity--to care about any of these people. Half a point, though, for the legless entrepreneur, who was clichéd but did have one good scene.

It all sort of plays like Final Destination delivered via a board game. The game does have an intriguing look to it, and it involves one of my favorite old conundrums. I'll give it that much. The drawback there is that the game possessed more personality than most of the characters.

As for the end, if you didn't see it coming, then I think YOU fell asleep. Somewhere back around the dawn of the genre.
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5/10
Everybody Can Win, Everybody Can Lose
claudio_carvalho7 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In Spain, the American surfer Jason (Mike Vogel), his best friend and photographer Tomas Escaño (Iman Nazemzadeh) and his girlfriend Lisa (Lindsay Caroline Robba) go shopping in a fair and while the couple is negotiating with a street vendor, Jason visits a dreadful store. Jason has a friction with the handicapped owner Malek (Alex O'Dogherty) and the man in a wheelchair offers an ancient board game called Mamba from the Spanish Inquisition period for free to excuse his behavior. Meanwhile, Detective Izar (Gary Piquer) is investigating the death of a man that was skinned alive. When a heavy rain falls during a party on the beach, Jason joins Tomas, Lisa, his new acquaintance Erica Vargas (Eliza Dushku), Pablo (Boris Martinez), Miguel (Ander Pardo) and Elena (Naike Rivelli) to play the game. Erica reads the rules and explains that the winner would have his wish granted while the losers would be cursed to die the way described in the cards. Pablo is the first to lose and borrows Tomas' car to buy some beers. Miguel, Lisa, Elena and Tomas also lose, but the players stop the game when Detective Eric arrives and informs that Pablo has just died. When Miguel, Lisa and Elena also die, Jason researches the Mamba in the Internet and finds that the pieces and board had been made of skin and bones of the witch Mamba Masamba and the cards had been written with her blood and tears. Jason decides to finish the game with Erica to undo the curse.

"Open Graves" is a reasonable horror movie that blends the story of "Wishmaster", "Final Destination" and several Ouija Board movies. The plot takes place in Spain and surprisingly every international and local character speaks English. The camera work and the special effects are very poor. The greatest attraction is certainly the cult-actress Eliza Dushku. However the conclusion makes the difference and an attentive viewer probably might have noted that Erica advises Jason to take care with his words in his wish. He should have wished that he had never accepted the game and consequently all the deaths would have never happened. The reviews in IMDb are unfair and this movie is not so bad. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Jogo Macabro" ("Macabre Game")
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5/10
Not good not bad but not really great.
jhpstrydom13 March 2012
OPEN GRAVES has a pretty good plot, its well acted by the cast, Eliza Dushku is delicious as always and the direction is okay but the film is actually not something to write home about, there aren't any real memorable moments that will leave you breathless even though some of the death scenes are rather weird, in fact there's nothing that stands out about this film, the best way to sum it up is that its nothing more than a time passer.

However, where I can give it credit is that it does try to be different but unfortunately like you could've guessed it falls short, I'd say only watch this if you want to kill time and if there's nothing else to watch which is the reason I watched it in the first place.
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4/10
Ineffective
BakuryuuTyranno22 February 2011
Open Graves starts out as something at least different enough from the repetitive ghost stories that became too common in the last few years.

Well technically it shares many similar aspects, but remains reasonably different mainly through methods of offing the victims. Unfortunately not different enough.

As oversaturate formula demands, we quickly learn several characters are going to die because of a certain event, and after the first few deaths we already know how everything's will play out. After which we're subjected to scenes of the remaining characters, or at least the central ones trying to figure out what's causing the deaths before it's their turn.

And of course, Open Graves follows the tradition of similar mystery- related films in the sense that once the cast discover an objective, any characterization disappears, the mystery itself becoming supposedly more important than giving the audience any interest in the people trying to solve it.
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2/10
Yech!
dmuel21 June 2010
An obnoxious group of young twerps are partying in Spain, according to the story anyway, when one of the group runs into an oddball at a curio shop. The oddball correctly sizes-up this young jerk and gives him something he really deserves: a game, supposedly from the Spanish Inquisition. The game kills the participants in macabre ways. An added thread to the "plot" is a rouge cop who wants the game for himself, though this adds little to the movie. After 20 minutes, the audience is relieved when the main characters start to get killed one-by-one. The death scenes try to gross-out the viewer, but fail miserably. One scene with killer crabs reminded me of something out of the 3 Stooges. Really unconvincing CGI's; watch only if you want a few, very few, laughs.
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6/10
Not bad at all, actually quite enjoyable
cutie_mcpretty5 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This movie deserves a fair chance, it's got a good story (even if it is slightly ripped off from other movies) and a good talented cast. The only thing that lets it down is the bad CGI, but the CGI only makes up about five minutes of the movie, so that't not a problem, and also the bad make-up and the obvious low-budget feel the movie has in some places.

Easiest way to describe this movie is Jumanji meets Final Destination. A comment I made whilst watching the movie was, change a few scenes and you could have final destination 5, as some scenes do feel very similar, but it's not too much of a flaw, as this movie takes well known ideas and makes them its own.

The story goes that this group of teenagers find an old mysterious board game. Its a game where everyone could win and everyone could lose, but whoever wins gets a wish. They play it and as they play, the majority of them have to pick up a card which has an obscure little poem on it. Turns out this poem gives clues about their upcoming deaths. And that's pretty much it.

There's not really much to the movie, just a lot of gory, gruesome deaths, which are quite imaginative. It's not a movie to be watched and analysed or to be watched and to be scared by. Just an easy horror movie to watch when there's nothing else on, and to be entertained and enjoy the rather predictable but well written story and several very good actors.
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4/10
Pretty bad.
Boba_Fett113820 August 2010
No Sir, I don't like it. This is one cheap, low-grade 'horror' thriller, that didn't even seem to had any good ideas of its own. It's a movie with a silly concept and silly concepts often equal silly bad movies. This movie is like a strange and bad mix of "Jumanji", "Hellraiser", "Final Destination" and whatever more. It doesn't use one good original idea and instead uses several from other movies and tried to combine it. Ineffectivly though. And perhaps this is the movie its biggest problem. The problem isn't necessarily the lack of originality but more the way it handles its concepts. Everything gets developed and executed quite poorly into the movie, which makes the overall movie a terrible ineffective one. It's just not a movie that ever gets tense, surprising or intriguing. There is basically no real reason why you should ever watch this movie, since it really doesn't have any redeeming qualities in it. No, it's hardly the worst thing you'll ever see but that doesn't mean you should watch it. You just can never get into this movie because of its lacking story and poor characters. It's a very distant movie, that tries to be mysterious but instead works out as lame and annoying. It involves some strange old board game, that causes those who play and loose it to die. Sounds good perhaps but the way it's being handled in this movie is far from interesting. We don't even get to know how the game works and what's exactly the point of the existence of such a game, what the rules are and how to win it, in the first place. The 'explaination' at the end doesn't really cover this and is just too out of tone with the rest of the movie that it feels totally wrong and bad. Bad as an horror, bad as a thriller, bad as a mystery. There are just no redeeming qualities in it. 4/10
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5/10
Weak
Rodrigo_Amaro31 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This could be quite significant if wasn't for its excessive use of clichés, its lack of imagination (the ending being the worst of its kind. Really? Doing all over again?) and lack of appealing things in the story (but the actors are very appealing though). Maybe significant isn't the right word. With proper writers and director this movie could be less insipid and actually become a good work.

So, here's a bored group of young guys and girls playing an old game, a relic from the Spanish Inquisition given to one of those guys. What the game does? It reveals the tragic fate of all of its players unless someone's able to defeat win the game and choose a better destiny. If you thought that it has something to do with change everything, never find the game at all, yep you've won a prize. It's always something like this.

In this mix between "Jumanji" and "Final Destination" the poetic cards of the game reveals strange yet well written things (and in English when the game was from Spain). However, the characters deaths might cause some strangeness such as being killed by a bunch of crabs or hilarious CGI snakes, whose appearance made me think that if a producer don't have enough money to spend with visual effects then don't make the movie at all, that can save the producer and the viewers from the embarrassment. More dopey than that is when the character remembers that her fate was something about being consumed by the fire and next thing she's doing is drown herself in the water. HELP!

"Open Graves" (known here as "The Curse of the Dragonfly") deviates from being a lousy film because Mike Vogel and Eliza Dushku hold the ties in a good way, making of this mess almost enjoyable. If it wasn't for them this could be a total loss.

It's drab - big time! 5/10
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6/10
Not particularly good
neil-47618 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This cheapish horror movie mashes up two decent ideas - Jumanji and Final Destination - and comes up with a group of young people being eliminated one by one in accordance with fates predetermined in a board game.

Eliza Dushku is the biggest name in the cast (which, considering how the promise shown by her TV roles has parlayed into increasingly indifferent horror movies, is probably a telling comment about this one). Second on the list is Mike Vogel. That's right, Mike Vogel. Right.

I said "cheapish" - there are some nice props and a decent explosion. a no-name cast, and little money left for CGI which is presumably why (please excuse spoiler) dragonfly lady emerging from the sea is so badly executed.

I won't say "avoid it", but I certainly won't say "seek it out" either.
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5/10
Not too bad but not to good either...
Sherazade21 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It started out as a really bad b-rate movie but developed some back bone about half way through.

I'm not a fan of gore but I thought it was interesting how (once) the deaths started occurring the dragonfly thingy didn't just kill them, it made them helplessly watch themselves die, even after certain death it still made them live long enough to watch. It could have just killed them but it didn't. I don't think I've ever seen that done before and that's what makes this particular horror fest different.

The daftness of the characters was off-putting and yeah the CGI was bad but that aside it was an okay watch. I rated it 5/10
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3/10
Not entirely awful but failed to maintain my interest
TheLittleSongbird2 November 2012
I have seen far worse movies than Open Graves, but that is saying little in its favour. It does oddly enough have some redeeming values, some of the camera angles are not so bad and I'd say the same for Mike Vogel's performance. Also Eliza Dusku is very sexy. Unfortunately her sexiness is the only good thing about her performance, she is wasted with terrible dialogue and an uninteresting character and does nothing whatsoever to elevate. That is pretty much the same though with the rest of the cast, none of them seem to care or give any kind of heart into what they're doing. The script and characters does nothing in their favour in all fairness. The dialogue is cheesy and has no natural flow, and it is also far too talky. The characters are entirely uninteresting and annoying cardboard cutouts. Further disadvantaging the film are the crude-looking special effects, the dull and atmosphere-less story that we have seen many times before and much better, an atmosphere that has no suspense or horror and flat direction, that shows that almost nobody involved seemed to have their hearts in Open Graves. All in all, couldn't maintain my interest but there are a few things that save it from total disaster. 3/10 Bethany Cox
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3/10
Jumanji for the horror fans
Leofwine_draca14 June 2015
Okay, OPEN GRAVES is poor. Surprisingly poor, considering the effort that has gone into this low budget production; although it's a US-financed movie it was shot in Spain with a Spanish director and supporting cast. And yet it turns out to be completely horrible, which is all thanks to a lacklustre storyline.

A group of brain-dead surfers are the unlikeable protagonists in this film, among their number the minor horror star Eliza Dushku (WRONG TURN). They get mixed up in a dark world of voodoo and horror when they start playing a game which sees them dying for real. It's much like the 1990s film JUMANJI, where the board game came to life and took the kids on an adventure, except with a horror slant.

Not that there's much in the way of horror here. This a murkily-shot production where swathes of boredom are interspersed with a few mildly gory supernatural death sequences. For some reason, the filmmakers are reliant on very poor CGI effects to keep the movie going, and it sinks the production further. OPEN GRAVES is a real stinker, that's for sure.
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3/10
Eliza Dushku needed some extra cash?
JWBly2 November 2016
Oh Eliza! Whatever possessed you to be part of this nightmare? The only "horror" about this film is that it was made at all. A group of nice-looking booze and sex fueled 20-something's play an antique game, and then start dying. Luckily for them, even though the box containing the game was passed down from the 15th century Spanish Inquisition, all the cards are in pristine condition AND conveniently printed in English! WOW, what luck! There are absolutely no surprises or suspense whatsoever, as this has been done many times before in many better ways. Sadly, even the gratuitous sex scenes generally associated with this genre are almost non-existent, apparently to devote more screen time to the horrible deaths. Out of deference to Eliza Dushku, I cannot give this the one star rating it truly deserves. The rest of the actors are mediocre at best, God-awful at worst. All are completely forgettable, as is the film itself within fifteen minutes of viewing. Skip it, even from the bargain bin.
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6/10
Strong idea but poorly realized
TdSmth523 August 2014
A group of friends are surfing somewhere in Spain. Among them is an American guy who develops an interest for an American girl. As he walks along the streets with his Spanish friends, he walks into a store. The owner in a wheelchair gives him a box. It's actually medieval game.

Later that night the group plays the game. It's a board game that where the aim is to survive. Those who die get a card with some description of how they die. The first guy to die in the game leaves to buy some drinks. He stops at a cliff, trips, falls down, and is attacked by crabs.

The cops interrupt the kids. Some others die in the game. And later one of them is attacked by snakes. The other suddenly ages decades in a few seconds. Another one is in a fiery car crash.

That leaves the two Americans to realize that the game has something to do with it. When they visit the guy in the wheelchair, they find him walking just fine. As it turns out, the game was made of the remains of a witch, who somehow is embodied in dragonflies. People who die in the game end up dying in similar fashion in real life. If you win the game, you get to make a wish and in a final draw of luck, you either have it come true or not. However to get to that point, they have to finish the game, which they didn't. And all the deaths have to happen first. Now they know what they have to do.

Open Graves is actually an intelligent horror movie. The script and idea shows that the writers actually put a lot of thought into it. Unfortunately, in the hands in a Spanish first time director, the movie is ruined. The setting in Spain doesn't help and neither do most of the actor and actresses who know how to smile, but not much else. As with all Spanish movies, you get some Spanish guy who is irresistible to women. For a horror movie, the death scenes, except for the first one, are rather weak. Mike Vogel, who's character is one of the few compelling things in Under the Dome, and Eliza Dushku do a solid job, but unfortunately they can't save the movie.
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3/10
A mess that never gets pulled together.
loomis78-815-98903430 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Set in Spain, Jason (Vogel) is a grad student who is surfing and partying with his friends. He meets Erica (Dushku) and a romance is started. He is given an ancient board game dating back to the Spanish inquisition and the idiot and his friends play the game. Whatever happens in the game happens in real life so those who receive a death card die in that fashion. Outside of some decent gore and make up this "barely there at all" plot cannot hold up over the long hall. With horrible dialog such as main character Jason telling Erica "You're a Goth girl in a wetsuit" and cheesy digital effects (check out the snake scene), Open Graves just stumbles along in predictable fashion. It feels like the writers (Bruce A. Taylor and Roderick Taylor) came up with the premise of the game and made the rest up as they went along. Credit must be given to the cast for trying real hard, but this movie is such a mess it never had a prayer of being anything worthy.
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2/10
Extreme Jumanji.....
FlashCallahan21 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A group of young surfers come into possession of an ancient artifact, Mamba, an old board game made from the skin and bones of a witch executed during the Spanish Inquisition.

At a drunken party one night, they casually decide to play.

Its all fun and games until they find out that curses last forever and death is the ultimate game stake.....

I would have given this a one star, but there is one scene around the twenty minute mark where there is a priceless look on Dushku's face of the realisation that she is in a mess of a film and cannot do anything about it.

Other than that, its a stink fest of Bad CGI reptiles and Molluscs, and a weird policeman who looks like a really cheap Michael Douglas double looking for the stupid game.

The makers obviously want this to be a hybrid of Jumanji and Final Destination, but the latter film had a little more urgency to it, and was original, and the former was a kids movie.

The characters are the usual rag tag team of Jocks, Geeks and other people you wouldn't speak to on the street, and it all ends with a voluptuous CGI Dushku granting someone a wish.

And you know what that wish is? To go back a week and to have never found the game. He obviously worded it wrong, because it just rewinds back to the beginning. Of the second act.

A poorly made movie.
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4/10
Today is the first day, for the rest of your life...
catfish-er30 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
No surprises here. OPEN GRAVES is simply another take on the classic tale of the monkey's paw, with a slight twist. The winner is granted their heart's desire. The losers... well, they get something else. Some, supposedly deserved; but, that's not really clear in viewing.

The movie included bad practical effects. And, even worse special effects, which made this movie insufferable. Seeing it on SyFy, which not only edits for content; but, over-edits, just adds insult to injury.

Throw into the mix a plot twist concerning a renegade cop. And, then add to that an oh-so predictable ending. And, you end up with OPEN GRAVES.

There are so many plot holes in this film that they aren't even worth mentioning. Definitely not worth your time.
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3/10
Open Graves
Scarecrow-8825 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
American Jason(Mike Vogel) overseas in Northern Spain encounters odd no-legged antique shop owner in a wheelchair who offers him a game which just so happens to be cursed with black magic. Once they play the game, which is supposed to grant a wish to the victor, those who participate are doomed if they draw the "epitaph" card which considers them dead. This antique game, which existed during the Spanish Inquisition, is given to Jason from the owner free. Anonbeliever who soon is convinced of it's dark power, Jason will need to beat the game in order to rescue his friends who are taken one by one through various methods, the epitaph card, in poetry, dispelling their fates. We see that Northern Spain is a tourist party hotspot where all the beautiful and buff Americans come to get drunk, wasted, and laid. The rules of the game, everybody could win, everybody could lose(I'm leaning towards the latter, how about you?).

Jason is a graduate student(currently working at a wildlife sanctuary), Tomas(Ethan Rains) his hardpartying friend, and Lisa(Lindsay Caroline Robba), Tomas' girlfriend(who Tomas sleeps around on behind her back)are all students in Northern Spain. Jason meets a fellow American in Erica(Eliza Dushku), who lives in a lighthouse, no less, and has a definite interest in the occult(the literary works located in her home, as Jason discovers, feature Bram Stoker and others). Tomas is a photographer, Lisa is his model, Pablo and Miguel(Boris Martinez and Ander Pardo) are Spanish students who service the plot as fodder for the game to destroy. Helena(Naike Rivelli)is another calender model Tomas beds without Lisa's knowledge. Helena, also, was a loser in the game and is frightened of what the future holds for her.

OPEN GRAVES depends almost entirely on CGI, with snakes(Black Mamba),dragon flies, and crabs(!)all playing a part in the deaths of the victims of the games. One victim withers quickly by an "age sickness" which has her deteriorating, before eventually becoming nothing more than a human shell of skin and bones. Crabs eat a victim's eyes out, someone unable to move because he fell from a cliff. Mamba bites cause one victim to swell until he suffocates due to lack of oxygen. Another is burnt alive after a horrifying crash where a fuel truck ignites, a runaway power line falling on some gas leakage, setting her on fire. Gary Picker is Detective Izar, someone who desperately wants to attain the game..and is willing to shoot anyone to get his hands on it.

I won't beat around the bush. The reason to see this is for the beauty of Dushku(whose worth slogging through any movie, no matter the quality of the product)and the setting. Everything else is blah. The CGI, cliché plot, and derivative twist all lack much to be desired. The crabs killing the one victim is rather unique, and there's one icky victim of the game who was skinned alive(if you make it to the end of the game, yet fail to choose the right slot, inside either one or another snake sculpture, to slide your dice, your fate is the same as the witch whose skin was used to fashion the game), but there isn't much else to applaud. I will say that, (despite the 'Final Destination' type of storyline where the damned attempt to avoid certain death), the victim burning alive, no matter how many times we have seen it used when a character is killed in such a way, is always a potent shock to the senses. Truth be told, I'll just be honest, I rented this because Dushku was in the cast, and I never pass up a chance to drool over her in any movie.
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3/10
Aaaaahhhhh, SyFy
JoeB13114 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I have to say this is better than most SyFy outings, but that isn't saying much.

The plot is that someone buys a game that is made from the bones and skin of a dead witch from the Spanish Inquisition (and nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition!) He and his friends play the game, only to be interrupted halfway through when the friend who went on the beer run is killed in a way that the game predicted.

What then follows are a series of kills that are typical for a movie like this, or any of the Final Destination movies. It has the puzzle at the end and the interesting subplot with the cop who wants the game to bring back his family... but otherwise, it's just a mess.
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4/10
Syfy has done worse, and better
dbborroughs18 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Think Jumanji but with a death curse. A bunch of surfer dudes get their hands on a game that takes the life of some one who is playing it. Supposedly it was made from the skin of a witch during the Spanish Inquisition and carries a nasty curse.

Okay, undemanding and just sort of watchable tale isn't anything you haven't seen before.Frankly its a been there and done that story that hits all the right buttons in such away as to have no real surprises. Far from the worst thing that SyFy has run but certainly its not the best. There are better choices out there but if this is your only choice you won't completely hate it.
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6/10
Everybody could win. Everybody could lose.
nogodnomasters20 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Some young adults (with models) are in Spain when one acquires a game from an artifacts dealer who apparently disliked him. If they complete the game, they get a wish. However, if they draw a death card, they are out of the game...all the way out. The game, from what I gathered originated during the Spanish Inquisition and is made from a witch's body parts. But don't worry, the curse cards to the game which describe their death are written in modern English with a font to make it look old. Phew! Didn't we see this in another movie with tarot cards?

The film is predictable with no twists. It lacked imagination.

F-bomb, brief sex, brief nudity, one guy gets crabs.
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4/10
Silly supernatural teen horror.
poolandrews17 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Open Graves starts in Spain during 1485 as a Witch named Mamba is tortured, skinned alive & killed by the Spanish Inquisition. Jump forward to the 'Present Day' & Jason (Mike Vogel) is a surfer living in Spain, while looking around an old antiques shop a man in a wheelchair gives him an old wooden box containing a game to be played by seven people, later that night after a drinking party Jason & six of his buddies including potential girlfriend Erica (Eliza Dushku) decide to play the game which promises to grant the winner a wish of their choice. They play the game & as losers leave the game only Jason & Erica remain, Pablo (Boris Martinez) is later found dead on a beach & the friends become convinced that the game is killing the losers off as stated. Jason finds out that the evil board game was made with the Witches skin & bone & written in her blood, Jason & Erica have to finish the game & try to at least save themselves...

This American & Spanish co-production was directed by Álvaro de Armiñán & feels like a silly horror film mix of Jumanji (1995), The Evil Dead (1981) & Final Destination (2000) with a little sprinkling of Wishmaster (1997) for good measure that felt to me like it was squarely aimed at a young teen audience. The script feels cobbled together from several much better films, the magical board game is straight out of Jumanji but has a slightly darker if sillier edge here, once the teens realise what's going on they try to stay alive in a Final Destination sort of way while the central concept of granting a wish & it backfiring in a painfully predictable way at the end reeks of Wishmaster while the ancient demons terrorising teens is surely lifted from The Evil Dead? The script for Open Graves is rather silly, from the way the teen act & behave to the silly death scenes to a seemingly random subplot about a cop wanting the game which is never resolved to it's predictable climax which you can see coming a mile off to a scene in which Erica emerges from the Ocean with wings. At only 80 odd minutes long Open Graves moves along at a decent pace but there's not much depth here at all, no-one is given any sort of background, the board game itself is just hard to take seriously which is a problem because Open Graves takes itself very seriously like it's some great supernatural horror film with deep underlying meanings but in reality it's bits & pieces of other much better films thrown together with little regard to narrative or logic or audience enjoyment.

The kills in Open Graves are strange & bear no consistency, one for instance is very Final Destination in which a series of coincidences ends up in a woman's car crashing & setting on fire with her in it while there's a bizarre supernatural death in which a pretty young girl ages rapidly & then randomly deflates in hospital! The kills go between serious & downright idiotic like when a guy taking a pee on the edge of a cliff id startled by a lowly Dragonfly flying at him he falls off the cliff & killer Crab's claw away his flesh while he lies dying on the beach below. The tone & balance of Open graves, the kills, the character's the events & the story are all over the place like the makers couldn't decide what sort of film they were trying to make. The opening scene also features someone having their fingernails pulled out, there are a couple of gory skinned bodies seen, a Crab pokes out someone's eye, there's a bit of blood splatter & a man grows some new legs. Some of the CGI computer effects are poor, the CGI Snakes, the CGI transformation of Erica at the end, some CGI ghost's & a swarm of Dragonfly look pretty bad. Originally shot in 2006 this didn't get released until 2009 & premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel in the US before hitting DVD.

With a supposed budget of about $6,500,000 this had a lot of money spent on it & it's hard to see where it all went, while well made the CGI is poor at times & nothing stands out as being great. Actually filmed in Spain, not that it makes any difference since Open Graves could have been set anywhere for all the significance it has. The acting is average at best, no-one looks that interested & a few of the performances are just terrible.

Open Graves is a silly teen horror film that tries to be totally serious but comes across as camp & silly at times, at least it's short & it's watchable enough I suppose but there are better films out there.
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