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BEYOND THE GRAVE (2010)

BEYOND THE GRAVE (2010)

Review by Mario Dominick
DNG

Director: Davi de Oliveiro Pinheiro
Stars: Rafael Tombini, Álvaro Rosa Costa, Ricardo Seffner
As a major world cinema enthusiast and fan of the horror and avant garde genres of film, I always gravitate towards the most horrific-looking, original, and most artsy films whether they come from Europe, Asian, or anywhere else. As of recently, a film called BEYOND THE GRAVE from Brazil was brought to my attention via my closest acquaintances in the Beneath the Underground Facebook community. Having been given a chance to view the film thanks to the producer, I figured it would be a great opportunity to see what kind of horror film Brazil is making these days. Going in with my expectations in a neutral position, I decided to give the film a chance.

BEYOND THE GRAVE is a post-apocalyptic zombie story. Upon hearing that, you’re probably thinking “Haven’t there been enough of these movies lately?”, but BTG takes on some interesting and unique story angles that keep it from becoming another I AM LEGEND or 28 DAYS LATER clone. The star of the story is a cop turned outlaw in a world that has descended into chaos. After tracking down and taking out a few crooks with the help of his pistol and a samurai sword he obtains from them, he comes across a young man and girl who run a small business and they tag along with him in his survival effort. The cop listens to a radio show host talking about the current state of the world where the undead have taken the most precious things everyone cares about and how it’s now a take-no-prisoners and do-or-die situation as civilization is ruled by outlaws and flesh hungry walking corpses. The cop and the two kids come across an abandoned school house where they find other survivors staying for shelter, including a husband and wife. Our officer hero of the story is determined to track down and kill somebody and the boy and girl seem to have the same goals. Who exactly this person is remains a mystery for some time. As other characters come into play and survivors start getting killed off, we come upon a revelation the cop has and it appears that the elusive figure he’s trying to find is a supernatural being that can only be dealt with on a sort of spiritual level.

BEYOND THE GRAVE is an original mix-up of zombie film, supernatural thriller and western. Director Davi de Oliveiro Pinheiro takes many creative approaches in dealing with the material on a small budget and the cast does a fine job for the most part. The film has some intense and gory moments, but those expecting an all-out gut munching gorefest may be a bit disappointed as the zombies and their actions don’t seem to be the main focus of the story. Granted, there are some nasty bullet wounds, head shots with cross bows, and slice ‘n’ dicing with a sword, but the gore in this case isn’t really what the film needs to keep the narrative afloat. It’s rather the actions of our officer hero and his quest to find his arch nemesis that is the biggest focus. As a result, the story pays off well in the end.

BEYOND THE GRAVE is definitely more than just your typical zombie flick. It’s an action thriller with elements of a western with a story that takes place in a world where people resort to a “Cowboys and Indians” lifestyle in order to survive a zombie infestation. While watching you may notice some slight similarities to Jim Mickle’s STAKE LAND. It’s sort of like STAKE LAND with zombies instead of vampires. Davi de Oliveiro Pinheiro has shown himself to be a creative filmmaker with this effort. I look forward to seeing what he brings us in the future.

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