Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beyond the Grave (2010)

Beyond theGrave, or Porto dos Mortos, is something as unique as a Brazilian horror-western-drama hybrid from director Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro. Shot in the beautiful city of Porto Alegre, the movie looks gorgeous and has an attractive cast of talents but suffers from a slow pacing. Will that work when the horror nerds out there most likely expects a gore-ridden splatter-movie?

The seven gates of hell has opened and transformed most people to zombie-demon-thingies. The Officer (Rafael Tombini) is a police officer obsessed with his work and even now, after the apocalypse, he's searching the country for the dreaded serial killer The Dark Rider. During the way he picks up two teenagers (Ricardo Seffner and Amanda Grimaldi) and teaches them to defend themselves without wasting bullets. But the closer they get to The Dark Rider higher the risk, and not everyone is gonna survive the end of the day...

Beyond the Grave is a very ambitious movie. The digital cinematography looks excellent and the main actors, especially the John Savage-esque Rafael Tombini and the two teenagers has a lot of charisma and carries the story all the way through. Even if the movie starts of quite cheesy, in a good way, with a shoot-out (including a very nifty shadow with bullethole-gag) and a samurai, the rest of the story is very, very low-key and is more or less an existential road movie with heavy doses of Stephen King's The Stand and it's villain, Randall fall - also called The Dark Man (compared to The Dark Rider) and the Walking Dude, the latter is referenced in a message that's sprayed on a wall in this movie.

One interesting idea is that the zombies isn't that dangerous (which I guess could be a disappointment to the gorehounds!), unless they are in a larger group of course. In some scenes the creatures is just stumbling around a couple of meters from our heroes without anyone really caring about them. Like stray dogs. Director Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro wasn't interested in doing a normal zombie-movie - which is very obvious when watching the movie. It's more a drama with some supernatural scenes tossed in here and there and very low on the gore front (and I like gore), which could have spiced up the story a little bit.

I was expecting something else, maybe something more less serious and with more action, but if you read this review and plans to watch the movie: expect something totally different, expect more of a road movie. Well-acted, nicely shot and with more focus on characters and dialogue than pure horror. I think you will like it more with that knowledge.

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