The Grave (1996)
By: J.R. McNamara on August 9, 2009  | 
Beyond Home Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 90 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Jonas Pate
Starring: Craig Sheffer, Gabrielle Anwar, Josh Charles, Donal Logue, Keith David
Screenplay: Jonas Pate, Josh Pate
Country: USA
External Links
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You know that old saying 'Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover'? Well it is not just a silly saying that ugly people say to reveal that they are smart/good in bed/rich - no it can also work the other way: something that has the appearance of being cool can sometimes be a boring pile of crap. The Grave is an excellent example of this.

The cover to this 1996 film, released in 2008, has star Craig Sheffer on the cover, dressed  in black, standing in a grave yard with a ghostly image of Gabrielle Anwar's face hovering over head, and the title The Grave, written in large gold type, with the 'T' in 'The' represented by a crucifix. The terror continues on the back of the cover as well, with an image of Gabrielle Anwar standing next to an open grave, Keith David having a smoke and holding a crowbar and three guys, one of them being Craig Sheffer, walking at night...oooooh, spooky!!

Even the blurb on the back makes references to 'gothic swamplands and cemetaries' and 'adversaries at every turn'... this is evidence that blurbs are written by people who need to make something sound better than it actually is.

It is a shame that the cover is a big fat lie.

A little research had me discover that co-writer/director Jonas Pate actually received a nomination for best film at a film festival called Mystfest in 1996 which made me realise two things: it must have been a quiet year at Mystfest that year, and if it was good enough to get a nomination, why did it take 12 years to get released on DVD? Maybe because it is a horrifyingly bad attempt at a someone trying to copy a Coen Brothers film!

The Grave has us hear a tale being told to a priest (Keith David) by a mysterious figure in a jail cell. The tale being told is of two prison escapees, King (Craig Sheffer) and Tyn (Josh Charles) who were told in jail by a character named Wex (Giovanni Ribisi) of the grave of a dead millionaire that was filled with the fortune he accumulated in life. The two prisoners escape with the help of one of the prison guards (John Diehl) and make their way to a small town where they meet up, after Tyn has been shot, with some of their old colleagues, Travis (Anthony Michael Hall), Boo (Max Perlich) and Cletus (Donal Logue), not to mention King's lovely ex-girl, Jordan (Gabrielle Anwar) and so the back-stabbing and double crossing begins...

...and the boredom sets in. For a film that runs at only about 90 minutes, I felt like I had been watching for four hours at the 30 minute mark. I found this film to be poorly paced, and over-talky, with some truly terrible southern accents performed by actors who are better than how they are presented here. Some of the scenery was grand, but unfortunately you can't hold a film up on pretty pictures. Well, unless it is a travelogue or porno. 
The Grave is presented in fullscreen and has an occasional artefact, but basically is a pretty good image.
The audio is just presented in Dolby 2.0, and is a clear soundtrack with no flaws.
Extra Features
All they could spare was a trailer... thanks for nothing.
The Verdict
I was trying to find another way of saying 'dull', but 'dull' says it perfectly. Dull.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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