A friend enthusiastically suggested that I watch The Gravedancers. The film is an offering of Amazon’s Instant Video service that she had seen years earlier at an event that she described as ‘the worst film festival she had ever been to.’ Even without knowing her film festival attendance rate, that was a fairly bold statement so naturally I was sold. The basic premise of the film is that four people are haunted by three very specific ghosts – an axe murderer, a rapist, and a pyromaniac child. Before even starting the film, I was determined that it would be a good time.
The movie started off with the random, violent death of a woman who seems to have been killed by a mysterious, invisible force. Nothing about her death suggests that it was killed by any of the title villains (rapist, axe murderer, or arsonist) so I’m immediately curious. The dead woman drops a black envelope before the camera is whisked away to a completely separate funeral scene that takes place a year later. I thought to myself, ‘Okay B-movie, I’ll bite.’ The rest of the film’s introduction is lack luster. The audience gets to awkwardly watch three friends drinking in lieu of saying something at their dead friend’s wake, and then the audience gets to accompany the trio on a drunken romp through the cemetery.
With cheap wine and other beverages in hand they go off to the cemetery
(two can only overrule one when you’re sober). Sid, the one who hatched the brilliant ‘midnight revelry on graves’ plan, finds a black envelope on their friend’s grave. This envelope is identical to the one dropped by the woman we got to see be brutally murdered in the opening scene. He decides to open the card and read aloud from it. At that point, I was anticipating that the film would get very interesting, very quickly. Alas, no such luck. All the audience gets is to see some awkward white people dancing and falling asleep on grave sites.
Once the movie picked up it was interesting and definitely worth a watch. It was ridiculous, awful, and I found myself glancing at my watch a few times during the movie because I had my doubts that there really could be any more to it. That being said I will admit that the effects were unsettling, the plot twists were reasonably unexpected, and the acting wasn’t so bad that I was rooting for the ghosts to succeed just so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the characters anymore (which is certainly more than can be said for Blood Widow). If you happen to have some time to kill and you decide you want to watch some cheesy horror that knows it’s cheesy and doesn’t rely too heavily on jump scares and the like, check out The Gravedancers. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the spooks are just creepy enough to bring back a pinch of the unease of being alone in the dark as a child.