Open Graves/100 Feet (2010/2008)
By: Captain Red Eye on July 17, 2010  | 
DVD
Icon | Region B | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 | 88/96 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Álvaro de Armiñán/Eric Red
Starring: Eliza Dushku, Mike Vogel/Famke Janssen, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Paré
Screenplay: Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor/Eric Red
Country: Spain/USA
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
Taking a 'quantity over quality' approach, Icon have stuffed not one but two lesser-known horror features onto the same BD, sans bonus features, in an attempt to get viewers a-spendin'. It's a fairly arbitrary pairing, and all the films seem to have in common is their STV status and the fact they would probably struggle to find much of an audience off their own steam, but in the case of 100 Feet this is unfortunate as it denigrates what is actually a strong and compelling feature.

Open Graves, whilst stylishly shot, is neither strong nor compelling, but rather a nonsensical affair concerning a group of American holidaymakers in Spain. One of the party stumbles across an eerie board game at a street bazaar, having been advised by the proprietor that the game dates back to the Inquisition but not, crucially, that it is possessed by an evil spirit. The gang, which includes the shapely Eliza Dushku of Wrong Turn and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, promptly decides to give it a go. Despite being at least six centuries old and originating in mainland Europe, the hoary Monopoly forerunner contains cards written in modern English, and conveniently it also seems to come with an instruction manual because everyone appears to automatically grasp the rules. At any rate the marauding entity which pervades the game wrecks everyone's evening and what remains of their vacation.

This film reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Homer buys an evil monkey paw from a Moroccan market and is granted three wishes, except the Simpsons episode didn't contain graphic footage of a grown man being devoured by crabs. I also found it quite reminiscent of the Final Fantasy franchise, in that it favoured style over substance and didn't really develop the characters in anything approaching a meaningful way. In addition the CGI was variable, the premise loopy and moments of real terror few and far between. Director Álvaro de Armiñán has an obvious visual flair, many of the non-CGI effects are artfully executed and the young leads try admirably to wring some levity out of proceedings, but ultimately the film is devoid of sense as well as suspense. AND THE CARDS WERE IN FUCKING ENGLISH.

100 Feet stars the excellent Famke Janssen (X-Men, Taken) and is a marked improvement on its predecessor. Marnie Watson (Janssen) returns home after a lengthy stint in prison for murdering her abusive cop husband. Her husband's cop buddy, a gung-ho jerk off who seems intent on making Marnie's life miserable, informs her with relish that she will be spending the next year under house arrest. An electronic bracelet ensures Marnie stays put, the titular distance being all the free reign she's allowed, though in reality it seems more like 25 feet as she's unable even to access her own front door. Though this seems like a dream come true for those of us who leave the house only under duress, her confinement becomes all the more unfortunate when she realises the ghost of her violent husband haunts the premises, and that the intervening years in the afterlife have done little to dampen his enthusiasm for spousal abuse.

Apparently 100 Feet made its debut on the Sci-Fi Channel, the dumping ground where bad films go to die. This is a real shame as it's a thoroughly accomplished effort and deserves no place alongside excrement like Flu Birds and Grizzly Rage. Director Eric Red has obviously given much thought to the staging of each scene, the cinematography is striking and both the camerawork and special effects are inventive. Janssen, meanwhile, proves more than able to carry the film near-singlehandedly, and puts in an excellent performance in what is one of the most memorable and atmospheric ghost films of recent memory.
Video
I've never seen an Icon BD that looked anything less than superb, and this double feature is no exception. The picture quality of both films is flawless and both films look amazing on Blu – clear and sharp, with vibrant colours and rich, deep blacks. Though it should be noted that 100 Feet is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio when its original aspect ratio is actually 2.35:1.
Audio
Both films feature a TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack but again 100 Feet comes out the clear winner; its audio has greater directionality, the levels are more stable and, best of all, a jarring nu-metal ditty doesn't burst out of the speakers every few minutes. John Frizzell's score is also a highlight, by turns pensive, ambient and disquieting.
Extra Features
None, just trailers for the Melissa George film Triangle and a PS3 game.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
These two efforts vary wildly in quality and don't really sit all that well alongside one another, but if this is the only hi-def local release 100 Feet will be seeing then the set is well worth purchasing for that film alone. Open Graves has its moments, but I personally found it too insipid to be really gratifying, especially when paired with a movie that outstrips it on every level.

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