Directed by Gus Smythe [Other horror films: N/A]
Filmed in South Carolina, 8 Graves is a film that I wished I could have enjoyed more, as I do think the base story had promise (it wasn’t the most original, but hey, there was some potential), but due to the conclusion and somewhat weak special effects, I don’t think it’d be an easy one to recommend.
What really gives this film more life than it otherwise might have had is the strong central cast. While arguably Jessica Slaughter and Valarie Kobrovsky are more generic fare, the other four central women were quite solid. Perhaps my favorites were Judit Fekete and Sims Holland (who didn’t seem to be credited on the copy of the film I saw, but is listed on IMDb), who were solid individually, but also shared a decent and realistic bond toward the end.
I was sort of expecting a little more from Jennifer Olympia Bentley’s character, especially given her somewhat contentious relationship with Andrea Catangay’s character, but we never really got that much focus on Bentley (though what we did get made her a more personable individual). As for Catangay, she was sometimes zany, sometimes bitchy, and one of the more memorable performances of the film. Lastly, John R. Brennan did decently with his short screen-time as a rather scummy character.
Holding back 8 Graves, though, would be the lackluster special effects. Sometimes they do okay – look at the aftermath of the fan scene – but the ghosts here generally look somewhat iffy, whether it be the pool sequence or a car being crushed by spirit power (I really thought that was overkill – the character was suffocating anyways, so having the car be crushed seemed unnecessary).
I also have to admit that the conclusion seemed a bit janky. I don’t have a problem with the two spirits having a score to settle with each other (that is, until they don’t and start working together just as soon as the last surviving characters make a run for it), but one of the spirits wanting the baby just seems ehh, which definitely isn’t helped by the somewhat silly ending. It should almost be mentioned that, at times, the audience gets the point-of-view of the ghosts, which means a lot of shaky camerawork, and I just personally don’t know how much that added to the suspense.
As often happens with newer films (and it seems that, on a side-note, this has been in production for some time, as it’s Facebook page was created back in 2009), I didn’t know what I was getting into with this one, and I did enjoy some elements (such as the beautiful South Carolina setting and many of the actresses involved), but overall, I found it a bit more lacking than what I was hoping for.