Beyond the Grave (aka Porto dos Mortos) Movie Review
Written by TGM
Written & Directed by Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro
2010, 89 minutes, Not Rated
Rafael Tombini as Policial (Officer)
Álvaro Rosa Costa as Franco
Ricardo Seffner as Atirador
Amanda Lerias as Nina
Luciana Verch as Adriene
Leandro Lefa as Ashley
Apparently there are more sinister entities to contend with in a post-apocalyptic world than the undead. And it is up to a smarmy policeman, channeling a somber Vince Vaughn with an affinity for dressing as Johnny Cash, to straighten things out. Seething with vengeance, and wielding a pistol in one hand and a stolen samurai sword in the other, our anti-hero travels the countryside in his badass car searching for a demonic presence that can jump from host to host when close to death. Beyond the Grave is akin to the under appreciated Fallen by way of The Walking Dead, peppered with a heaping helping of Mad Max pathos and a neo Spaghetti Western sensibility. This mish-mash of genres all culminates into a very commendable little horror flick originating from Brazil of all places.
True zombie aficionados will undoubtedly come away feeling a little underwhelmed by the portrayal of the undead as they clearly play second fiddle to the demon possessed humans. In fact, Beyond the Grave manages to capture some of the slowest moving most docile zombies ever filmed. They never really register as a legitimate threat to any of the protagonists, and seem more of an overall mild annoyance than a lethal concern.
No backstory is ever given about the events leading up to the little slice of post-apocalyptica that the viewer becomes thrust into. Exposition be damned. Beyond the Grave does not attempt to address things on a global scale. This is purely meant to document a couple days in the life of a tortured soul traveling through sunny Brazil on a mission of retribution. I’m perfectly fine with that.
There are some rather large discrepancies when it comes to the quality of the zombie makeup, from laughable to freakishly cool. The possessed demons are also disappointing in their appearance, as they are only delineated from humans thanks to some snazzy red contact lenses and a funky looking revolver. Most of the fight scenes are rather weakly choreographed with a few too many exaggerated hay-maker punches and conveniently slow reaction times so said punches can connect, but the overall pace, tone, and tenor of the film help to make up for most of Beyond the Grave’s shortcomings.
This movie, teased as far back as 2008, finally managed to crawl out of its own post-production grave having just screened at the Chicago Latino Film Festival in April. It’s always great to see another culture’s take on a particular horror genre of interest. Love it or hate it, blockbuster or epic fail, there is always something refreshing one can glean from supporting the contributions of foreign horror filmmakers.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.