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New Release Review - Beyond the Grave

In post-apocalypse Brazil, a police officer seeks a possessed serial killer.

Directed by: Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro
Starring: Rafael Tombini, Alvaro Rosa Costa, Ricardo Seffner


Disappointingly, this is not a Zombie sequel to Kevin Spacey's Bobby Darin biopic. What we are in is post apocalypse Brazil where a Police Officer (Tombini) seeks a possessed serial killer. Well that's according to IMDB because due to what must be bad subtitles and a soporific pace like a sloth on valium, all I saw was a 'Mad Max' meets 'The Undead' shot in a shanty town with a pound stretcher budget and is either incoherent or channeling the spirit of Alejandro Jodorowsky, but without the talent or vision.
I'm not overly familiar with the Brazilian horror scene. I have a passing knowledge of the Coffin Joe series of movies, having seen the amusingly repellent 'Embodiment of Evil'. This doesn't have any of that movie's pantomime excess, just a mish mash of genres incorporating horror, westerns, kung fu mythology and a soup├žon of voodoo. If that sounds good don't be fooled, this is as close to exciting as a Vesta Curry is to Indian cuisine.
I'd love to elucidate further but the film categorically fails to make any narrative sense. Zombies walk about but rarely attack. Characters are introduced only to be killed off with no discernible impact on the plot. One of the characters (they are never named which makes things tricky) is prone to uttering gnomic Nietzschean statements, using an umbrella as a weapon and teaching ladies to dance like a favela Bruce Forsyth. A gas mask seems to play a part in the story but by then I had given up trying to work out what was going on.
It's mainly static nonsense though. Characters talk interminably, nothing happens. You know when something is going to happen because a Carlos Santana alike soundtrack suddenly kicks in. The whole experience was like watching a film late at night drunk and continually falling asleep waking up and not knowing if you have missed a huge amount of plot or if you're even watching another film.
This isn't one of those confusing in a good way films where you are debating the meaning with your friends post viewing. This is confusing in the way a Chimp would be if you took him to your local multiplex.
It's a hard film to like, it may be easier to understand with clear subtitling but my feeling is it would still be a confused mess of a film. It might be going for the grandiose excesses of early period Argento and Fulci, foregoing narrative fluidity for striking visuals or dream logic but failing on all levels to impart any of the cinematic joy those horror staples have provided.
2/10


Jason Abbey