District 9’s Sharlto Copley stars in this 2013 zombie flick with a great beginning which unfortunately fast fizzles.
Sharlto (John/Jonah) horrifyingly wakes with no recollection of who he is only to find himself trapped in a deep mass grave. Once he escapes, he finds a group of other humans with the same mysterious “amnesia”.
The group, uncertain of who they are, why they’re there and who to trust begin to explore their surroundings. They soon find zombie-like humans whom they have to fend from.
What lets this film down most is its unrealistic plot lines and intentions of the characters, who seem more concerned with “finding answers” to who they are rather than with the clearly more important issue, staying alive and away from the zombies. The characters’ actions become forced and we are left wondering “why would they do that”. It is the usual trap a lot of B-grade horrors fall into, like the classic mistake of characters running up the stairs instead of out the door when fleeing from the villain, in the case of ‘Open Grave’, the characters were running toward the zombies instead of away from them!
Unlike his stellar performance as Wikus in ‘District 9′, Sharlto Copley’s portrayal as the confused protagonist-who-may-also-be-the-antagonist is far from convincing. I can only pinpoint it down to his over-the-top American accent. His emphasis on pronouncing words with an American dialect made the emotion and motivation behind those words feel lost and unconvincing. -Resulting in John/Jonah, whilst being the main character, became the most unbelievable of the group. When the main character feels fake and contrived, all is lost with the rest of the story.
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