22 October 2015



Working Title:
The Last Halloween / The Suicide Forest

Canada, 2013
Director: Steven R. Monroe


My frequent readers may know that I'm quite a fan of the new "I Spit On Your Grave" films (both directed by Steven R. Monroe), and my frequent readers may also know that Monroe's other works are more than pale in comparison. Still, I just can't stop checking out other Monroe films in hope that there might be at least one more gem that comes close to the awesomeness of both ISOYG movies.

"Grave Halloween" obviously doesn't manage to be another Monroe-gem, but hey, compared to the last Monroe flicks that I checked out ("Monika" + "It Waits"), it's actually pretty decent. The SyFy-produced and extremely improperly titled movie has nearly nothing to do with the Halloween celebration; it's actually more of an attempt to create some kinda new-school J-Horror flick, taking place in the "Aokigahara Suicide Forest" (see here) where a girl tries to find the dead body of her mother, not knowing that it was super-bad idea to enter this creepy forest which is full of restless and vengeful spirits...

I love how hard this Canadian production tries to look like an actual Asian horror film, or at least as some kinda J-Horror fan-fiction - which actually works! You get your average long-haired ghost girls, Japanese curses and rituals, J-horror-like jump scares etc. Okay, I admit it's all quite clich├ęd and well-trodden, but due to Monroe's solid direction and due to the fact that nearly the entire movie takes place in broad daylight in this damn forest, I was thoroughly entertained and mildly thrilled, never bored.

Unfortunately, the whole thing is also pretty predictable, the storyline doesn't offer any surprises and the screenplay by Sheldon Wilson ("Shallow Ground") and Ryan W. Smith is simply too run-of-the-mill. The acting is solid (standouts: Hiro Kanagawa and Kaitlyn Leeb), though nearly all of the characters are bland and vapid. Some neat music, good special effects, okay cinematography.
Overall, not exactly a must-see, but definitely a passable watch.

1 comment:

  1. Another brilliant review.

    Thank you for giving me another film to add to my watch list.

    Enjoy your weekend :)


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