This article was last modified on October 12, 2020.


NIGHTSTREAM review: AN UNQUIET GRAVE

A year after the death of his wife, a man (Jacob A. Ware, BOARDWALK EMPIRE) enlists her sister (Christine Nyland) to help him bring her back.

Does the plot summary reveal too much? Actually, not at all… this seemingly tired horror trope of bringing back the dead is handled in a bold, fresh manner. This is not your zombie film or mad scientist picture. Sure, there are some hints of “The Monkey’s Paw” or PET SEMATERY, but in every way is its own monster.

The decomposition of the gastrointestinal tract results in a dark, foul-smelling liquid called “purge fluid” that is forced out of the nose and mouth due to gas pressure in the intestine. Why do I tell you this? Because early on, the two leads discuss if the dead woman would have “purge” – the discussion of her body is clinical, not emotional, which is in itself rather frightening. Though it does raise the reality of what happens to the dead – after a few days, corpses are not pleasant.

No film is perfect. Some of the line delivery is a little clunky and theatrical, and there is a scene later on with a questionable display of internal anatomy. This is a nitpick, as the average viewer is not watching to analyze and will not be looking for every blemish.

The minimalist cast and crew is admirable, and the film has a very impressive flesh and gore design. And at a short 75ish minutes, the pace is steady and the film never overstays its welcome. If anything, it might leave you hungry for more. Our two leads carry the film – especially Christine Nyland – and do so remarkably well. More than the plot or action, this is a tale of two (or three?) people, and they sell it well.

AN UNQUIET GRAVE had the unfortunate placement of Sunday night at the Nightstream film festival, when many people may have gone to bed. This is too bad, as it deserves a wider audience and serves as a deeper character study that most genre films are lacking.

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