VOD REVIEW: BEYOND THE GRAVE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: DAVI DE OLIVEIRA PINHEIRO / SCREENPLAY: DAVI DE OLIVEIRA PINHEIRO / STARRING: RAFAEL TOMBINI, ÁLVARO ROSA COSTA, RICARDO SEFFNER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (NETFLIX US)
Budgets don't get much lower than with this Brazilian horror film – a dark, supernatural zombie-based affair about a man on a very personal mission. A brooding police officer (Tombini) seeks an entity known as the 'Dark Rider', accompanied by a pair of teenagers in a dangerous post-apocalyptic environment. It could have been Mad Max meets Fallen but, sadly, falls quite short of such lofty heights.
There's an assumption that comes with being a horror fan, that if it's subtitled, it's automatically good. Think instant classics like , Haute Tension, Oldboy and Audition, to name but a few. Beyond the Grave proves, however, that every culture has its own mediocrities. Beyond the Grave will fit right in with the hundreds of other British and American straight to DVD zombie horror films currently out there, being very much a middle of the road entry into the subgenre. Its poster and opening moments even show that very same middle of the road: front, and centre.
That's not to say it doesn't try. The 'Dark Rider' element is interesting, as is the concept of a moody cop hunting him/it. As our hero speeds about the post-apocalypse landscape in his slick black muscle car (complete with police siren on the roof), there's some very interesting imagery at play. The zombies look pretty good too, with more effort being put into their appearance than you might expect to find elsewhere. The Brazilian backdrop helps. No matter how cheap the rest of the cinematography looks (and there's no hiding the whiff of pinched pennies) it's hard not to love the lush looking hills and lakes in the background.
Beyond the Grave might not be classic zombie horror, but it's still an interesting oddity, making up for its low budget, bad acting and general lack of sheen with an admirable helping of guts and ambition.