By Don Simpson | January 2, 2014
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Writers: Chris Borey, Eddie Borey
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Joseph Morgan, Thomas Kretschmann, Erin Richards, Josie Ho, Max Wrottesley
When John (Sharlto Copley) regains consciousness at the bottom of an open grave, he quickly discovers that he does not know why he passed out among hundreds of dead bodies. Apparently riddled with amnesia, John cannot remember anything about his past, he just knows that he has awoken into a bleak nightmare armed with a steadfast drive for survival. Eventually, John happens upon a house that is inhabited by five people who are also suffering from memory loss. The group’s de facto leader, Lukas (Thomas Kretschmann), is immediately suspicious of John; then again, with no recollections of their group or individual pasts, they are all incredibly suspicious of each other.
Utilizing a narrative that is quite purposefully populated with six protagonists who have absolutely no idea what is going on, Gonzalo López-Gallego’s Open Grave does a great job of keeping the audience in the dark. As the characters slowly differentiate the valid clues from a menagerie of red herrings, we too are given hints as to what might be going on. Whether or not Open Grave is a scientifically sound portrayal of amnesia would be up for a doctor or scientist to determine; regardless, Open Grave is a keen portrayal of psychological nativism, as there are certain skills or abilities that seem to be hard-wired into the characters’ brains. First and foremost, the six protagonists quickly fall into a hierarchical power dynamic, unconsciously separating themselves into alpha and beta characters; there are intrinsic connections and frictions between them that were not erased with their memories.