Saturday, March 16, 2013

Beyond the Grave (Porto dos Mortos) (2010) Review

Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro's Beyond the Grave or Porto do Mortos as it's known in Brazil and other parts of the world is a new take on what happens when "it all goes down". It's a vision of the after world where there's still plenty to fight for, to save the world from even though it's ended and where guts happen. It's not the Walking Dead, and it's not Orwellian, but there are zombies and a completely off the wall driving force. Reinvention would not be the correct word. You could compare this to a Dawn of the Dead in that the fight to survive the risen deceased is truly secondary to the human on human narrative. It borrows from Stephen King's The Stand if only in passing and perhaps unintentional. It's something, and that's a great place to begin.

The narrative follows a man through the end of days in a battle between good and evil. Between super Samurai warrior and serial killer. All the while the real threat of the undead looms. Who will die and what will be left them (as opposed to the classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre catch phrase)?  I won't spoil it, but let's talk about who's gonna enjoy this film, what works, what's not working and what struck me.

Horror fans looking for something fresh may find a new seasoning in the serial killer vs. the Samurai plot device. You can't completely compare the Samurai to the character Michone in The Walking Dead, but I'm sure there's a number of people who might draw that conclusion. Still, the story follows this character nearly exclusively throughout the movie. It can be a slow ride, but if you can bare the first 50 minutes you're in for a very gory, action packed end equipped with a twist or two to make the wait worth it. Slow burn isn't my strong suit. I don't abide long, drawn out and quiet. I'm a product of the MTV generation for fucksake. Not my fault.

What director Pinheiro has done well is to make you enjoy your protagonist, to care about the battle. Again, the finish is strong and gory and gruesome. This is where the special effects fellas really got to give their all and it works. The bathtub sequence is exciting and the gore is great. In fact the end sequence is well effected in general and is colorful and contrasty.

Look. The undead by any name you'd like to call them are very popular right now. It's difficult to weigh them against one another without a defining, contrasting moment. Something that truly makes a film stand out. Beyond the Grave is entertaining but does not innovate  Not all movies have to innovate mind you, but with the zombie genre flooded, it's a difficult nut to crack. A particular strong point is the score from Felipe Longhi. It's haunting, varied and overall quite good.

This is an independent release so keep your eyes peeled if you'd like to see it, but the good news is that users of Netflix can catch it on Instant HERE. . It suffers from some audio quality issues though nothing that gets in the way. It give the director quite a lot to build on if he decides to continue in the horror genre. Check it out on FaceBook HERE.


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