23rd Jan2013

‘Beyond the Grave’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Rafael Tombini, Álvaro Rosa Costa, Ricardo Seffner, Amanda Lerias, Luciana Verch, Leandro Lefa, Tatiana Paganella, Adriano Basegio | Written and Directed by Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro


“In a devastated post-apocalyptic world where the rules of reality are transformed by magic and madness, a vengeful police officer searches for a possessed serial killer in a battle of the not-so-good versus absolute evil”

Films that feature zombies can be quite interesting, they tend to have different styles based on which part of the world they are based in. Beyond the Grave is a zombie film originating in Brazil and directed by Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro and he creates a film where zombies are in ways nothing more than a background menace to the main plot, which itself is more interesting than the average story of the undead.

The main character of the piece is only known as the police officer, dressed in a black suit he travels the zombie infested land in search of the Dark Rider, an almost mythical serial killer who killed the woman he loved.  On his search he meets various people who are surviving the zombie outbreak and offer him help and friendship.  When the Dark Rider and its gang finally make an appearance though it’s obvious that the creature is intent on torturing the law man more, and much worse he finds out just who the Rider actually is.

It’s quite interesting that Beyond the Grave is not your average tale of zombies.  Most zombie films follow the basic plot based around the fight against the horde of the undead who are consuming the world around the main characters.  The zombies in Beyond the Grave just tend to walk around in the background, only attacking at certain points that are either important to the plot or when they tend to feel like it. The real conflict is between the police officer, who although is a member of law enforcement is very selfish in his actions, and the dark rider character, who is all about control.  His control over society by changing them all to zombies could in ways be a metaphor for the slavery of society, who as zombies care little for what is happening which of course relates to Romero’s “social commentary” in his original Dead trilogy.  This of course may be thinking too much into the plot, but the fact that the Dark Rider is more of a supernatural creature makes the film a lot more interesting than the average horror movie.

Rafael Tombini as the main character plays his character well.  Dressed in a black suit with a gun in his hand he’s every bit the old western sheriff fighting against the Dark Rider who took the woman he loved away.  It’s a classic style of story that always works, with a nice twist in the form of the Rider itself.  I can’t say much about the Rider themselves because that would spoil a plot point, but the character is quite interesting and if anything pulls the film out of the trap of being just another zombie movie.

It’s fair to say that people who look to Beyond the Grave as a zombie film will be quite disappointed.  The zombies themselves pose little threat to the survivors, even though they tend to wander through the scenes quite a lot.  This threat though, I’d argue is not the real storyline of importance and the tale of the Dark Rider is far more interesting. Part western, part zombie and part movie about evil and the supernatural Beyond the Grave is interesting and unique in that it applies a new spin on the zombie sub-genre and adds nice twist of unexpected originality that comes from its Brazilian roots.


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