Six years after stunning audiences with his blasphemous comedy/horror epic The Convent, Mike Mendez has returned to the genre, and this time, he’s not joking around. is a full-on paranormal rollercoaster of shocks, executed with a ghoulish enthusiasm that will brighten your summer with darkness. Our story begins when a group of college friends reunite to visit the grave of a fallen comrade. Drunken and grieving, their judgment is not at full peak. They discover a condolence card in the cemetery grass. On this card is written a very unusual song. They read the song aloud, dancing on graves as they do so. Need it even be said, this is not the wisest move. Shortly afterwards, one of the friends has stopped answering her phone. She is found in a state of shock, looking as if she crawled out of a car crash. Before long, each of the students are falling victim to continuous brutal assault, prompting them to start asking some serious questions. They learn that the graves they danced on were located in a corner of cemetery reserved exclusively for the burial of criminals. Specifically, the graves they danced over belonged to murderers. The assaults continue, escalating in their violence, inexplicable chaos occurs without warning and people begin to die.
A powerhouse blast that is clearly the work of a tremendous genre aficionado, graced with a slick yet gritty look courtesy of cinematographer David Armstrong (who previously shot both Saw films), The Gravedancers’s influences, ranging from the other-side pyrotechnics of Poltergeist (amped up crazy) and The Entity to the gruesome supernatural surrealism of Phantasm, Suspiria and ’80s John Carpenter films, can be felt throughout, yet this is far from a fanboy homage-a-thon. Rather, this is precisely the film that one hopes fans-turned-filmmakers will make. Once it gets started, this bloody baby never stops delivering, with freakish scare sequences piled one on top of the other to exhilarating effect. Mendez has said that he designed his film to play like a very adult version of Disneyland’s haunted mansion ride and this spirit (um, no pun intended) comes through strongly. Coffins burst up from the earth, cadavers shriek, graves shoot flames… and the ghosts themselves wreak unbelievable havoc. Far from whispy beings that can be stepped through with minimal effort, Mendez’s spirit figures are tough, and those who get on their bad sides walk away looking like assault victims. Most don’t walk away. Miss it and be haunted.
"Extracts the scary adult horrors of POLTERGEIST (you know, the ‘this movie should’ve been R-rated’ stuff) and combines it with a ferocity akin to THE EVIL DEAD" - Ryan Rotten, DREAD CENTRAL
"Harks back to the days when horror movies had fun scaring you, yet didn’t wink at the camera or employ self-conscious humor to do so" – Michael Gingold, FANGORIA MAGAZINE
Hosted by director Mike Mendez
Director: Mike Mendez
Screenplay: Brad Keene, Chris Skinner
Cast: Dominic Purcell, Josie Maran, Clare Kramer, Marcus Thomas, Tcheky Karyo, Megahn Perry
Producers: Lawrence Elmer Fuhrmann Jr, Bill McCutchen, Al Corley, Bart Rosenblatt, Eugene Musso