Remember when you were young and carefree? How you used to play pranks on your mates that would result in one of them dying in a cruel twist of fate and the rest of you would have to cover it up only to have it return, let’s say exactly one year later, to spectacularly bite you on the arse? Really, you haven’t? Then you have not lived my friend. Or, at least, you haven’t lived in the world inhabited by the idiot characters of horror films. Now you may be thinking that I am describing a film in the vein of I Know What You Did Last Summer, or maybe even I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, or perhaps even I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (Yes, there was a third one, I wasn’t even aware of this fact until a couple of weeks ago. It made me yearn for the endearing utter shiteness of Freddie Prinze Jnr. And that’s not a sentiment to be taken lightly). Well, sorry to disappoint you if you were hoping for a review on that opus of slasher cinema (and various pictures of Jennifer Love Hewitt in a series of low cut tops), but today’s film is The Graveyard, a 2006 film that has no clue has to why the first IKWYDLS was even vaguely palatable, but attempts to rip it off wholesale anyway, with a liberal dash of Prom Night and Friday the 13th thrown in for good measure. Spoilers to follow.
A Whole Three DVD Covers To Choose From. Oi, oi! You Lucky People!
A group of teenagers break into the local cemetery for fun and frolics, which I guess beats hanging out at the bus stop drinking cheap cider, which is what teenagers do round my way. Through a massive gap in the metal fence surrounding it they all manage to go through in a way that sums up their character (‘sexy’, ‘sensible’, ‘confident’ etc.), which is handy, as it means less of the ridiculous dialogue we have to hear throughout the rest of the film. The group, including Mark Salling, aka Puck from Glee, are in the graveyard to play ‘Run for Your Life’, or as the rest of the world likes to call it, Hide and Seek. Puck is shut up in a mausoleum and starts counting to 20 while the rest of them run off to hide. As he does this, a masked figure lurks behind him. When he finishes counting, Puck opens his eyes to see the masked figure in front of him, he freaks and falls to the ground and the figure leaves. Puck bursts out of the mausoleum and does indeed run for his life. Straight into the twisted and protruding spikes of the cemetery fence, which skewer him straight through. That must have been some fucking hardcore running like. Someone should really talk to the council about that the state of that fence too. The rest of the group gather around in horror, it was a prank, gone terribly awry.
5 years later – In a move away from the I Know What You Did Last Summer mould the kids actually went to the police, and Bobby, the ‘masked man’ is in jail for manslaughter (Er, wut? That just would not happen). One of the girls of the group, Michelle, makes an impassioned speech at his parole hearing, vowing to take care of him and also brilliantly states that she plans to take him back to the graveyard for closure. Shouldn’t maybe the boy’s parents be involved here? Bobby is released and Michelle drives him home. Its awkward silence a go-go until Michelle decides to plug the gap by giving us a quick exposition run down of what all the characters are up to now. Which is nice, except I don’t have a single clue who any of them are. For her part, Michelle went to college and then finished college. Riveting stuff, no wonder Bobby looks bored out of his skull.
Well, If You Can’t Afford Jennifer Love Hewitt Or Sarah Michelle Gellar You May As Well Do With Their Poundland Counterparts.
They arrive at the camp; the group are staying at a camp. You know, one of those in the middle of nowhere camps with adjoining graveyard, pretty much standard at Center Parcs is a graveyard. As Michelle unloads the car she is startled by a stranger, this is Peter Bishop, who may as well just have been called ‘The Killer’, for all the subtlety the film treats his character with, who is the chef and general groundskeeper for the camp site. He is charming and there’s a spark between them. The rest of the old gang start to arrive, there’s Sarah, who is now a lawyer, Ally, a teacher, Charlie, rich geek, Jack, a professional prick by all accounts, and Veronica, his girlfriend. The gang gather a cafeteria type place and alternatively bitch about what a dump the place is and boast about being rich. Good group. As soon as one of them utters ‘In a way we’re all guilty for Eric’s death’ Bobby shuffles into the room, rejoining with ‘Yes. You are’. There’s lots of tension, no one seems very pleased to see each other. How is this meant to help Bobby exactly?
Ally and Michelle take a walk, chatting about what a wanker Jack is. They hear strange noises and decide to turn back. The noises are being made by someone tied up in a shed and having a horrible time of it. I have no idea who this is. Is it Peter, the chef guy? Anyway, a masked figure axes him and kills him so he’s dead anyway.
It Looks Like He Is Being Killed By A Grey Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
Jack and Veronica get it on. She likes to clean. He’s a misogynist. Match made in heaven. Michelle unpacks and has a wistful moment over an old carving in the wood, implying that she and Bobby were once a couple, she is then surprised by Peter. Guess it wasn’t him who died in the shed. That’s me back on track with the ‘Peter is the killer’ theory then. Ally comes across Jack and Veronica shagging and watches for a bit. Michelle and Peter chat outside. And the whole group hear the unsatisfying end of the couple’s sex. But as an added treat, we, the film audience, gets to see Jack’s orgasm face. Thanks movie.
Michelle goes to talk to Bobby, who witters on about consequences and everything having them. He warns Michelle that the woods aren’t safe now and clearly isn’t being helped by any of this palpable tension and bad sex. At the boathouse the group discusses Bobby. The prank was Jack and Bobby’s idea originally. So why isn’t Jack in jail for collusion or something? What happened to Eric was a tragic accident. I don’t get why Bobby went to jail for manslaughter. Turns out Eric’s family, who Michelle wanted to invite, are dead, having been killed in an arson attack. Find it hard to believe that none of them knew about this. Jack arrives and demands food, and is an utter knob a bit more as well, mostly to Peter. Why do they even need a chef? This is a group of fucking adults, and none of them can cook? The group hear strange noises coming from the woods and Sarah freaks. Jack dismisses this, saying it’s not like Jason Voorhees is out there. How I wish he was. I’d even take Remake Jason. Sarah runs off. When Michelle catches up with her she says they are all going to pay for what they did to Eric and the only thing left is to beg forgiveness. The killer follows them. And in what I can only consider to be a personal affront to me, his outfit is like a cross between two of the villains of two of the worst films I have thus far reviewed; the clown from Camp Blood and Bell Pepper Head from The Pumpkin Karver. What a dick move on behalf of the film.
Meanwhile, Veronica heads for the shower rooms. Apparently everything is sooo dirty and, like, gross. And yet you went near Jack’s penis. Interesting. The killer clearly changed his mind about going after Michelle and Sarah because he’s now in the shower room. Veronica uses a magic shower whereby it starts steaming before she’s even turned it on. The killer rips down a shower curtain and waits while Veronica showers herself like she’s in a porn film. Michelle and Sarah reach the cemetery, where the fence still hasn’t been fixed after Eric’s grisly demise. Really? Actually really? No one in the local vicinity thought to fix the fence? Sarah wants to find Eric’s grave. When they get there the grave is empty. If you’re hoping for a zombie Eric, you’re going to be disappointed. This film is was too boring for that. Veronica finally finishes her shower and hearing noises, goes to investigate. Without covering herself with a towel first, naturally. After endless amounts of non-tension she pulls away a curtain to reveal the killer, who suffocates her with the shower curtain. Michelle and Sarah hear Veronica’s muffled screams, somehow despite them barely being audible, and run back to the cabin to find her. They don’t look very hard, in fact they check just the cabin itself, and go back to the others at the boat house.
While the others discuss what to do, Bobby appears being all mysterious and shit. He says that Veronica ‘went into the woods’. Michelle chastises him for being ungrateful to his friends. Friends that never came and visited him or wrote, retorts Bobby, which is a fair point. When Bobby lunges for Jack to attack him Peter intervenes. Ok new guy, no one asked you. If ever a guy needed a right hook to the face, it’s Jack. Jack splits the group up into teams to try and find Veronica. They are trying so hard to make Jack the guy who’s a dick, but is funny. But he’s just a massive dick.
Peter, Michelle and Sarah form the first team, who we’ll call Team Moron. Jack, Ally and Charlie are the second team, who we’ll call Team Cretin. Team Moron’s strategy is to just wander aimlessly yelling Veronica’s name. Michelle and Peter also find the time for some more flirting. Sarah senses some one behind her. It’s Zoe, Sarah’s ex-girlfriend. Who managed to somehow find her in this massive forest. She’s tries goad the others about her sexuality, but no one seems to care very much. Zoe is very unhinged. As she stalks through the woods the killer watches her from a tree. She runs for a bit, then dies when the killer jumps down from a tree and slits her throat. What a pointless character. And why is it only the people NOT involved in the prank that killed Eric have died so far?
Team Cretin are also wandering around shouting for Veronica. Jack continues in his quest to be the biggest fuckwit ever, admonishing Charlie for being rich with no sex life (yeah, but he’s really fucking rich. He wins). A figure creeps up behind Jack and stabs him, he screams, bringing Team Moron running. It’s Bobby, a prank the two of them devised when Bobby was still in prison. What’s this now? So Bobby was just pretending to be all maudlin and crazy with this ‘lost in the woods’ crap was he? He’s actually perfectly fine and able to joke about the incident that ended the life on one of his friends and put him in jail for five years. Apparently so, as Bobby says prison was like Sleepaway Camp. What, a transsexual 12 year old girl with a massive penis was slicing people up in there? That’s twice The Graveyard has broken the cardinal rule about not referencing a better film in your rubbish one.
And When Team Moron And Team Cretin Combine, We Get Team Seriously How Are Any Of You Dumb Bastards Actually Still Alive?
They abandon Veronica to her fate and head back to camp. Someone has damaged all their cars, leaving them cut off. No mobile phone signal. Peter says the nearest phone is 10 miles away. This place doesn’t have a landline? Bobby volunteers to go and get help. And no one volunteers to go with him. These people really are shitty friends. Charlie invented an amazing router so thinks he should be able transmit some sort of signal to the outside world. He’s also a bastard to Sarah, for all sorts of red herring related reasons that will become clear. The lights go out. Some bizarre act of God has seduced Ally back into bed with the loathsome Jack. They hear a strange noise and Ally goes to check it out.
While Michelle and Sarah share a cigarette Ally wanders around outside. She finds the killer holding the severed head of Jack. At least I think it was him. Bobby finds Zoe hanging from a tree. The killer chases Ally up some steps, slashing her leg so she can’t get away. The killer decides against killing her, and runs around to the top of the steps and watches her go. For why? Michelle and Sarah find Jack’s chopped up body. Ally nearly reaches them, but the killer appears again and slits her throat. So what the fuck was that last scene where the killer let’s her get away about then? Did they just have to have that extra 30 seconds of nothing in there? Everyone else regroups over the remains of Jack. I’d like to think they are going to hold some sort of small celebration. Charlie thinks he can get a signal to summon help if he can fix the generator.
Bobby runs into a stupid cop, who arrests him for carrying a fake knife. The knife he used on his trick with Peter, which he was still carrying for some reason. It’s one of those cheap joke knives where the blade slides back into the handle. Why not just demonstrate this for the cop? The next morning Charlie is still working on the generator. Charlie is weird and locks his cabin door and apparently has creepy pictures of Sarah on his computer. Sarah agrees to keep Charlie busy while Peter and Michelle break into his cabin to look at his computer. Bobby has been carted off to the police station. Sheriff thinks he’s the killer who last week chopped a guy’s head and hands off. Bobby protests that he was in prison last week so couldn’t have done it. Instead of checking these easily verified facts Sheriff instead decides to go with his gut, which tells him Bobby is a killer. Bobby entreats him to at least go up to the camp.
I Couldn’t Find Any More Pictures Of Graveyard. That’s How Nothing This Film Is. So For The Remainder, Photos Of Actual Graveyards.
As Charlie tries to fix the generator Michelle and Peter try to break into his cabin while Sarah distracts him. If he was going to be in the basement anyway, why did they need a distraction? Sarah goes into the basement to find Charlie but only succeeds in freaking herself out. Charlie finds her and calls her a prick tease, and then prattles on endlessly about nothing of any interest as this is a dull sub-plot with exactly zero merit. On Charlie’s computer Michelle and Peter find a lot of disturbing photos of Sarah being stalked. Charlie has an obsession with Sarah, who he blames for Eric’s death. As Sarah tries to get the generator working, Charlie turns on the power and fries her.
Charlie has secret files on all his friends and Michelle and Peter run to find Sarah. They find her dead body. Charlie has run back to his computer. On it someone has left a message; ‘look under the bed’, which he duly does. It’s a snake, which bites him on the eye, killing him. Michelle and Peter find the body. Michelle runs. Awful lot of running going on this film. Lots of urgency but very little happening. Peter comes after her and reassures her with the fact that the Sheriff may not be along, today, or tomorrow, but soon. It is 10 miles to the nearest phone. Walk you lazy bastards. Michelle admonishes him for using ‘clichés’, which is a bit rich coming from a film derivative as this one is.
Back at the police station, Sheriff receives the news that Bobby was indeed still in prison when the headless murder happened. He apologies and lets him go, but he still won’t take Bobby up to the camp as he has to go and check out a robbery. So why doesn’t Bobby use the phone to rouse more efficient help? Because he’s fucking dense, like everyone else in this film. At the camp. Peter and Michelle share some whiskey and Michelle invites Peter back to live with her in the city. Riiight. Peter says something ominous about not having a home anymore. You know, wearing a t-shirt with ‘I am the killer’ printed on it would have been a lot more subtle. They start snogging.
I’m Actually Balancing The Film Out In A Way. For A Film Called Graveyard, Very Little Of The Thing Takes Place There.
Back at the police station, Bobby gets the fax with the details of the headless murder victim. It’s Peter Bishop. ‘If that’s Peter Bishop, then whose…(long pause)’ Bobby actually says this line out loud, just in case any audience members are as stupid as he is and missed the inference there. He grabs a handy bike and makes his way back to the camp. He passes the Sheriff on his way, who turns tail and follows him. It’s now dark and Peter and Michelle are still kissing. Michelle feels something weird through Peter’s shirt and asks him about it. He shows her. We don’t get to see it but it’s a hideous burn scar. It was a fire at his parent’s house. And to the surprise of absolutely no-one, not even those weird deformed fish who live at the very bottom of the ocean, it is revealed that Peter is Eric’s brother, Adam, and he promptly starts chewing scenery like it’s going out of fashion. He dug up Eric’s body and burnt his house down, along with his parents. So this guy is meant to be Eric’s younger brother right? Because he looks the exact same age as everyone else.
Bobby arrives back at camp and tears through the place, calling for his friends. Peter takes the unconscious Michelle back to the graveyard, to play one last game of Run for Your Life. ‘You’re crazy’, she tells him. ‘That’s what my therapist said, before I killed him’. This guy is the least frightening killer ever. He starts counting, and possibly masturbating (seriously, watch the scene), while she runs.
Bobby finds Michelle. The Sheriff finds them. Adam finds them. Adam kills the Sheriff. Adam and Bobby have a really badly choreographed fight. Michelle runs. Adam wins the fight and knocks Bobby out. He ties him to the fence, to kill him in manner or Eric, and taunts him. More chat about clichés. If they drag out ‘think outside the box’ in manner of Ripper: Letter From Hell I’m going to throw my television out the window. Adam hunts for Michelle, he screams about revenge. He shrieks ‘I’ll take my revenge’ about 7 times in a row. Get on with it then you fucking pleb. More running. Bobby appears from nowhere and pushes Adam into an open grave. Adam obviously isn’t dead, so Bobby shoots him for good measure.
Sheriff was only knocked out. The police arrive and escort a random couple out of the cemetery. Who the fuck were they? Sheriff gets told he’s going to get an award for this, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, just like he did back in 1974. How sweet. However, Adam’s body is missing, but no one seems to care that much, everyone is far too excited about the Sheriff and his awesome news. Michelle and Bobby, exhausted after their ordeal, get into the back of the police car. Adam, very much not dead, joins them. And thank Christ that’s the end.
All Of These Photographs Are Scarier Than The Actual Film.
Where to even begin? Ok, first of all, Bobby would not have gone to jail for manslaughter as he did not in any way kill Eric. It was an accident. Also, Peter/Adam obviously had some of those Jason Voorhees teleportation powers as while he is killing Zoe, he is still with Michelle and Sarah. He was also up in the cabin cooking for the others when Veronica was getting killed in the shower. Who the fuck was the guy Adam was killing in the shed near the start? It can’t have been the original Peter Bishop, as his body was found when Bobby was still in jail. Or actually, it probably was, but the writing was so poor that it didn’t occur to anyone. And are we meant to believe that Adam changed so much physically in the space of five years that no one would recognise him as Eric’s younger brother, who by the way looks the same age as the rest of them? Plot holes are nothing new in slasher films but it shouldn’t be too much to ask for them not to be so massive that the truck driving mentalist from Duel could merrily drive through them. Considering a quick sprucing up of the script could have sorted out these issues it just comes off as sloppy and lazy, and there seems to be an awful lot of padding for a film that clocks in at just over 80 minutes. Inconsistent plot, too many characters, too little personality, not one single scare and a random lesbian does not a good film make.
NB: Further research led me to the fact that The Graveyard is apparently a spin-off/sequel/remake/rip-off/who the fuck cares of a series of films called Bloody Mary. If this is what the franchise has to offer I’ll don’t think I’ll bother with the rest thanks.