Beyond the Grave (2012)

Having received this screener directly from the filmmakers themselves, Beyond the Grave came with no synopsis and no description of quality, budget etc… so I went into it completely blind… and after ninety minutes I’m still not quite sure what it was actually about…

We’re told it’s “Another time, another place” and it’s not wrong. We’re dropped into a bizarre post-apocalyptic world that doesn’t seem like it was ever ours to begin with.

It starts with a ‘man in black’ entering an underground shelter and executing four random people, including three men who look like cowboy miners and an oriental bloke with a burnt face… and we (very slowly!) begin to understand this black-wearing man is a new-world cop looking to deal out some bullet-filled justice. Why? I’m still not entirely sure… but possibly for reasons of vengeance.

There’re also zombies; grey faced, shambling, mostly-harmless undead things wandering about the countryside, which seemingly appear when the mysterious Dark Rider is near. The Dark Rider seems to be a timeless, possession-happy witch / mage psychopath thing that is hunting our police officer… who may or may not have also been killed in the past. Confused? You will be.

You never truly get an idea of era, location or exactly when the world went spiralling into hell either; everyone seems strangely clean-faced and there’s a policeman people still respect… but then all the buildings are crumbling ruins and there’s constant talk about the ‘last people on Earth’. It’s hard to understand the stakes and full scale of the crisis when you don’t know the basics… and never find out!!

Needless to say Beyond the Grave is bloody confusing. Whether it’s a piece of cinematic genius or actually a rambling, nonsensical pile of shite is really hard to decide. It’s strangely hypnotic, whatever the case.

For a (clearly) fantastically limited budget it’s very well directed, with some memorable scenes and images, proving Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro is potentially a filmmaker to watch out for in the future, as long as he sticks to something a little more coherent next time.

While Beyond the Grave has a dreamlike, haunting quality to it, it also occasionally slips into daytime TV soap opera territory with some seriously dreary acting and an appallingly on-the-nose script. The make-up and special effects are also pretty terrible in places… but that’s more to do with budget limitations than skill.

One minor negative is how our cop looks a little like Garth Marenghi, which is certainly unfortunate, but probably won’t affect many people’s enjoyment levels…

Overall Beyond the Grave is incredibly difficult to review. It is at once startlingly original, genuinely intriguing and well directed whilst simultaneously being ridiculously confusing, occasionally boring and almost entirely without a coherent plot.

PLEASE NOTE: Beyond the Grave is currently not available in the UK (or possibly anywhere) so don’t be concerned if you can’t find it anywhere commercially.

Rating: ★★★★½☆☆☆☆☆

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