Review: 8 GRAVES (2020)
A group of former sorority sisters get back together for a weekend at a remote house. An allegedly haunted house with an even worse reputation than the girls. That’s about as generic a starting point for a film as you can get. Jamie Bernadette alone has done a pile of these reunion type films, The 6th Friend, All Girls Weekend, The 4/20 Massacre, etc. That’s where director Gus Smythe and co-writers Rodney Lee Rogers and Nick Smith start 8 Graves.
Well, actually he starts it with a title card that reads “1865. The War Between The States Is Over. For Tens Of Thousands Now Without Sons, The Family Name Will Die. Unless a Male Child Can Be Found” and a couple killing each over one of them not telling the other they’re among those tens of thousands. So we know the house is haunted.
Then we get to the girls heading out to the house. But not before Sadie (Jessica Slaughter) has an argument with Bruce (John R. Brennan, Cold Soldiers) who’s getting to stay home with their crying infant. She and her five friends settle in at the house to drink and swap sob stories and catty remarks. A couple of horny guys show up and give the ghosts something to warm up on before starting in on the girls by drowning Ruth (Valarie Kobrovsky) in the pool. At this point, the film is already past the halfway mark.
8 Graves is nothing you haven’t seen before. A CGI spectre committing bloodless killings. Characters who act unrealistically, wandering into harm’s way, not noticing when somebody has been gone for hours, etc. And lots of tease, there’s a bath scene, a shower scene and Alice (Sims Holland, The Afflicted) is in perpetual danger of falling out of her low cut shirt. But there’s almost no gore, no skin and, worst of all, no scares.
That might help explain why 8 Graves has been so long finding it’s way to the screen. The film was shot in 2009 and only now getting a release. It seems to have been edited to a rough cut in 2010 then abandoned until 2017 when the Facebook page saw new activity. Editing was finished in 2019 and now the film has been released.
The film can’t even keep its own internal logic straight. The opening murders are shown a second time with Sadie describing them. She says the husband got struck in the face with the hatchet. Both times though we see it strike him at the base of the neck.
A dull and cliched film, 8 Graves is available to stream. You can check out the Facebook page for more details.