Review: THE TOMBS (2019)
Set in an actual and rather well known haunted maze, The Tombs is the latest entry in the haunted attraction that actually is lethal genre. Recently we’ve had slashers like Haunt and Clown, now we have one taking the supernatural route. Can that, and the reputation of The London Tombs deliver the scares?
The Tombs starts on a fairly meta note. The sequel to The Tombs is about to be released and to promote it a group of celebs and cast members are doing an overnighter in The London Tombs. There’s Piper (Jessica Ann Brownlie, Devil’s Tower, Virus Of The Dead) the final girl from the first film. Harriet (Jessica Cameron, Human Zoo, Puppet Killer) is the full of herself hostess. Gigi (Ayvianna Snow, The Convent, Video Shop Tales of Terror) is the star of the sequel. The Presenter (Danielle Harold, Fanged Up) working the crowd outside. You get the idea.
Of course, the camera feed kicks out as soon as they head into the maze. It seems they’ve awakened the spirit of a necromancer who was buried in the plague pit discovered during renovations. He’s looking for a new host, and he’ll kill everyone between him and his chosen target.
There is a crowdfunding page for The Tombs dating back to 2015. You would think that at some point over those years somebody would have noticed the script needed a serious rewrite. The lack of likable characters and an uninteresting killer hobble it badly. The script from Michael William Smith (Death Do Us Apart) desperately needed tightening up. That and more elements geared specifically to the setting.
Director Dan Brownlie had previously done the documentary UK Haunters about scare attractions but he shows no real affinity for the setting here. Whether from lack of ideas or lack of budget, The Tombs themselves aren’t really exploited beyond a couple of victims assuming the killer is part of the show. Even as far back as the 80s, the Waxworks films knew you needed to make locations like this interactive to deliver real scares.
The Tombs also wastes a fairly large cast and body count. The kills are mostly bloodless and lack imagination. A tight budget may have ruled out extensive gore effects. But there’s no excuse for not being more creative with the deaths.
In short, The Tombs sadly ignores its supernatural concept and functions as a slasher for most of its run time. The spirit stalks around with a sack over its head hacking people up like any human killer. It doesn’t help that his victims are annoying assholes who are to busy bitching at each other to save themselves. I get that reality TV casts its shows to get this kind of drama. It’s also a large part of why I don’t watch reality TV.
A missed opportunity, The Tombs is available on DVD and streaming from Gravitas Ventures.