What better movie to review during the month of October than one with the word “Halloween” in it? No, I’m not talking about those Halloween movies either. This time around, I’m talking about Steven Monroe’s SyFy original movie, Grave Halloween.
Maiko, an exchange student at a local university, agrees to take a documentary crew on a trip to find some answers about her recently deceased mother. They are warned to stay out of “suicide forest,” but Maiko is determined to find the truth. As the team delve deeper into the ‘sea of trees,’ they begin to experience some pretty strange things including losing their way and seeing visions of the dead.
I loved the work that Steven Monroe did with his I Spit on Your Grave reboot, years ago, and its subsequent sequel, so I was sure I was in for a real treat when it came to this, his latest film. While Grave Halloween did manage to have a lot of good things going for it, I want to get some of the bad things out of the way first. The story was clearly heavily influenced by traditional J-horror films like Ju-on and Ringu (just to name a couple of the more popular titles), but unfortunately it was never able to capture the real spirit of the sub-genre… no pun intended. I was waiting to be creeped out or even frightened just a little, but it never happened. It really just seemed to be a bunch of random Asian zombie-like ghosts popping up here and there in an attempt to get a quick jump-scare.
Where Grave Halloween lacked in any real cohesion, it made up for in many other departments. I want to say that the last few SyFy original films that I’ve watched, I’ve really enjoyed. I know there are still some pretty poor quality films being released on the channel, but I loved Sharknado 2 and I think last year’s Scarecrow was an outstanding film. Grave Halloween, while not the best film to come out, is certainly up there in terms of quality. The acting was really on point and I thought the performances were really well done. The special effects and make-up looked great throughout the entire movie, thanks to Mike Kruper and the entire make-up department. The kills were pretty sweet looking and you should watch this film just for those alone!
If you are a fan of Asian horror cinema, you should definitely give Monroe’s film a chance. It is highly original and a nice change from all of the reboots, zombies, and found footage films we’ve been seeing over the last few years. Available now on DVD from Anchor Bay, be sure to purchase a copy from their official website.
I give this movie 2 impaled necks out of 5.