GORE IN THE STORE
AN UNQUIET GRAVE ***
Directed by Terence Krey.
Starring Jacob A. Ware, Christine Nyland.
Horror, US, 75minutes.
Streaming on Shudder from 24th June 2021.
Widower Jamie is still struggling with the grief of losing his wife Jules in a car crash. With the help of her twin sister Ava, Jamie attempts a ritual to bring Jules back from the beyond. However, Jamie may be keeping Ava in the dark as to how exactly the ritual works, his anguish and sorrow causing him to pay whatever the price may be.
Making his feature debut as director and sharing screen writing credit with leading lady Nyland, Terence Krey’s AN UNQUIET GRAVE is low budget cinema with limited resources that manages to punch above its weight thanks to its smart script and convincing performances. With its cast of two, limited locations and a minimal reliance on special effects it may sound like an exercise in tedium but over its brief running time Krey delivers a debut film that is interesting in the way that it tackles such a well-trodden subject in its contemporary manner.
Thanks to the likes of The Monkey’s Paw and the legion of books and films it has inspired we all know that bringing a loved one back from the dead isn’t exactly the best idea as it always comes with a terrible cost. The fee paid here makes the most of the films restricted scope in regard to its two characters. To say how exactly the film’s supernatural plot riffs on current events would be to give away the films biggest surprise, which arriving early, sets up the rest of the film, examining in unsettling detail the repercussions of Jamie and Ava’s ill-advised dabbling in the dark arts.
The most is made of the films stark nature, allowing a focus on character that is both sharply written and excellently performed. Jacob A. Ware impresses here with his performance of a man warped by his loss. Whether he is unable to see the perverse repercussions of his actions or just ignores them in the name of selfishness is treaded carefully, leaving the viewer considering both options throughout the film. Just as impressive is Christine Nyland, working from her script that displays an aptitude for writing and portraying nicely etched characters. Playing a character put into an impossible situation with a sense of vulnerability she impresses bringing a troubling edge to the film.
Sharing its title with a 15th century folk song that also looked at devastation, grief and the supernatural, AN UNQUIET GRAVE is a film that is disturbing for its domestic issues maybe more than its supernatural matters. What cannot be denied is how well the two subjects are melded together here. This is low budget cinema that may not offer the most in terms of spectacle but in terms of lingering in the viewers mind afterwards with the troubling, sometimes skin crawling nature of the awful decisions brought on by a warped sense of entitlement it succeeds admirably. Confidently handled by its director and on screen double act this is a smart film that smuggles in uncomfortable subject matter expertly under its supernatural setting. This is a promising debut from a creative partnership who could take us into even more interesting territory with their next collaboration.