Grave Secrets (Secret Screams) (1989) Review

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Imagine Requiem for a Pie.

Grave Secrets (Secret Screams) (1989): 4 out of 10: Decent story about a haunting at a bed-and-breakfast is let down by a poor script, unfocused direction, and some poor acting choices.

The Good

The Good: Of all the actors in this, I will give Renée Soutendijk a pass. Considering what they often give her to work with, she seems to at least try to put together a character. She also has a semblance of charisma and screen presence.

Though they look funny today, the special effects really are not all that bad. Well okay, they are sometimes they are that bad but they are fun and cartoonish and good lord at least something is happening on screen.

The Bad

The Bad: Paul Le Mat has the charisma of wet toast in this and David Warner has what amounts to an extended cameo. Outside of a couple of townies and a perky female assistant, there are really no other characters in this film. Most of the film is Renée Soutendijk telling Paul Le Mat to leave her house and Paul ignoring her wishes in a way that could charitably be described as creepy in this me-too era. This is not as entertaining as one would think.

The story goes down some surprisingly dark paths. Too bad the script doesn’t. The story has some horrifying content that is beyond dark, but the script and the direction treat this as an extended Scooby Doo episode. Imagine Requiem for a Dream done by the American Pie people.

The Ugly

The Ugly: There are some interesting ideas in this film that are simply taken out back and shot. The film starts with our ghost hunting professor Le Mat being visited by possible femme fatale Soutendijk. Le Mat is in his office like Sam Spade with shadows and rain. It is actually a superb start. Their next meeting one would expect in a smokey bar or on a foggy dock. Nope, a food court. It is as if the movie had a good idea and just forgot about it.

Speaking of forgotten about the local townie is being set up as a jealous lover, a former rapist, jealous of city folk threat to our leads (He throws an axe at them which they blame on the ghost.) He seems destined to have some part to play in the stories resolution. Nope, seems like the movie just forgot about him two-thirds of the way through.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: You know the AP Stylebook says that the modern preferred spelling of an axe is ax. Apparently, axe is both old-fashioned and British. Am I so old that the language has changed on me? When did this happen?

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