What do you get if you mix Mad Max, El Mariachi, Dawn of the Dead and The Stand? Well, you get the post apocalyptic film Beyond the Grave. Written, produced and directed by Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro, lensed in Brazil, the film follows a man simply known as “Officer”, played with all sorts of tough guy gruffness by Rafael Tombini, as he tracks down a supernatural serial killer known as the “Dark Rider” all across an abandoned wasteland. Along the way he meets various survivors, a couple of youths who I think are boyfriend and girlfriend, but may be brother and sister, I honestly couldn’t tell, as well as a father holed up in what appeared to be an deserted hospital with his son and pregnant daughter. Lots of dialogue, poorly translated into subtitles might I add, add nothing but confusion to the proceedings. This is a movie that really doesn’t require a whole lot of exposition, but you get it nonetheless.
From the opening sequence, I knew I was in for a crazy ride. Our protagonist waltzes into a western style saloon and plugs everyone inside with his .44 revolver, well almost everyone. Inexplicably a scarred face bald Japanese man appears wielding a Katana sword and proceeds to do all kinds of Kung-Fu on our hero. Elbows and kicks are thrown about and just when it seems like all hope is lost, a bit of slapstick comedy happens. Yep. You read that correctly. This movie has no idea what it’s trying to be. A road revenge movie? Zombie flick? Grindhouse style action flick? Well, it’s all of the above actually, and a glorious sight to behold it is. We actually get a Tarantino style “Interlude” title card mid movie. Insane.
I don’t know how to properly explain my level of confusion with certain parts of this movie, but I’ll be damned if I ain’t gotta try. To start, for some odd reason, the main villain of the film not only changes actors, portrayed by the male Adriano Basegio in our hero’s flashbacks and then by the female Tatiana Paganella, whom may or may not be related to either the Officer or the DJ of the only working radio station, and hell, I’m not certain that those aren’t the same guy. An afro sporting harmonica player with a coke nail causes pain whenever he plays a tune, a native american summons black magic and murders one of the youths mentioned earlier only to later put on a shirt and tie and try to help our hero. People commit suicide, zombies are shown allegiance for some reason only to be slaughtered later, circus style music plays over a montage of people learning how to shoot using an empty gun. I kid you not, this movie is insane.
Competently acted all throughout, the real standout performance however, comes from Gilver Tarakdian, who plays the father I mentioned earlier. He puts out a genuine sense of earnest emotion and thoughtfulness, especially where his two children, Phylip Tarakdian as Filho and Gisela Rodriguez as Mae, are concerned. The main problem I have with this movie is the lack of character development as most characters are placed on screen, in the middle of the story with little to no reason why or how they got there, but, one can let these things go if you, like me, look at this film as an homage of the grindhouse style era that came before it.
Not much can be said as far as makeup effects go, it’s basically your run of the mill colored contacts and grease-paint with some corn syrup thrown about for good measure. Not in-effective per say, but If you’re hoping for a gore-fest, better keep on truckin’ pal. The landscape, while it doesn’t hold much as far as visuals, we often get shots of our hero rip roaring through empty country style roads in his classic mustang, we do every once in awhile catch a glimpse of the favelas of Brazil. If you know anything about these ghettos, they alone add a sense of dread and danger to the story, be they inhabited by the walking dead or not. Paint blisters and peels away, wood rots and metal rusts as the buildings look like they are decaying right before your very eyes. A truly appropriate locale for a post apocalyptic setting.
I would kill for the chance to sit and talk movies with Mr. Pinheiro. The man clearly loves schlock as the this movie is nothing if not a good ol’ schlock filled amusement park ride. The influences come flying out of the material at you, be it from the Two-Lane Blacktop mixed with the Road Warrior style of opening credits or the El-Mariachi mixed with 80’s anime style ending. What a fun time. I recommend this to anyone with a fridge full of beers, a few buddies and 80 minutes to kill. You shouldn’t be disappointed.
Beyond the Grave (3.5 / 5)