REVIEW: Graveyard of the Dead (El Retorno De Los Templarios) (2008) Reviewed by Bryan ‘SHU-IZMZ’ Schuessler
Vick Campbell’s Graveyard of the Dead (El Retorno De Los Templarios) is a film that I would not wish my worst enemy to view. Well, I probably would because I can be a pretty mean bastard at times. Still, viewing this film is a test of endurance to my love of horror and films (even though I found such a tiny resemblance to either after viewing this low-budget turd).
Here is the plot of the film as best I can decipher it. Back in 1310, the Templar Knights were going around killing women and accusing them of being witches. Some of the male villagers decide to put an end to them killing all their females and kill all the Templar Knights. Viewers are then taken forward in time to 1976 to Buitrago (Soria) where Jorge comes looking for his sister, Miranda. He is warned that the place is evil because it is the very place that the Templars were killing all the virginal young women at.
Well, I have no idea if they were really virgins or not. In fact, I had no idea what the fuck was going on for most of the film. What I did notice is that the undead Templars that rise from the dead at one point looked just like the Knights from Amando De Ossorio’s Blind Dead films. Apparently, Graveyard of the Dead is supposed to be Spanish director Vick Campbell’s 2009 homage to Ossorio. The movie continues on at a torturous pace, stopping here and there for badly delivered dialogue and scenes that did not flow together and left the viewer utterly confused. I felt as though this film really did not have much of a plot. After the Templar Knights raise from their graves to kill anyone in their sight, it made no sense.
Jorge comes looking for his sister but we never are introduced to him. He just finds Miranda walking around aimlessly, very traumatized and disoriented. We are introduced to Miranda as a young woman who lives with her parents. Her mom is a cold bitch and ignores her. Her father rapes and molests her. I am not sure if it is her biological father or not. That is never told, outright or otherwise. Her brother did molest or force sex onto her. Viewers learn of this when the father is trying to screw his daughter and says her brother did it so why can’t he? These scenes of Miranda fighting her father off, or trying to at least, were the only scenes that were well done and believable. Miranda is really giving one hell of a performance in the rape scene.
Later on we are bounced over to a bunch of young adults having some kind of dance party in the middle of a forest that is broken up by the undead Templar Knights. There is some light gore shown with some of the kills. One does get to see some arterial blood spraying here and there. I was mildly interested by the cheap and low-budget gore effects and a little bit more mildly interested by the nudity that was sprinkled here and there. Neither was definitely enough to win me over into liking this flick at all.
I was glad that the film was only 70 minutes long, or I don’t know how I could have made it sitting through this whole mess. As annoying as the film itself was, I could not help but notice the glaring technicalities that were either overlooked or plain ol’ ignored. Do not film outdoor shots on a very windy day with nothing to block the whirring noise of the wind hitting a camcorder’s microphone. It is the most annoying thing to listen to when watching a long scene filmed outside in wind. I can’t even recollect what was going on in the scene because I was so distracted by the thump and whir of wind pummeling into the microphone.
There was not much that I enjoyed in this film except a convincing performance by Miranda as she was getting molested/raped by her father. Everything else was pathetic or just plain ridiculous. The Blind Dead costumes that they used for the Templar Knights did look good. I give the filmmakers credit for replicating the costumes from Ossorio’s film near flawlessly. Other than that, take a pass from watching this movie. Instead, go rent the Blind Dead Trilogy and forget that Graveyard of the Dead is supposed to be a homage to the original classics. If anything, this film is tarnishing and embarrassing the films that Ossorio made years ago.
I have to mention that the best scene in the film was not even in the original film-it is listed as a bonus clip and possesses an ultra hot blond completely nude running from a “blind dead” Templar Knight. It seems to be a promo for the next film in the “homage” to The Blind Dead Trilogy and also contains a knight wielding a chainsaw. I think that director Vick Campbell needs to get a more cohesive story together, simple and to the point, and just lay on the nudity (the actresses in the film were quite attractive) and focus on titillation and gore. Go overboard on the blood sprays and cheap stabbings and whippings that were rampant in the film. The plot and story is not ever going to win fans of these types of movies over-sex and gore are going to be what your target audience is looking for. That was what I was looking for when I saw what the director was working with.
Avoid this Graveyard of the Dead. You will be doing yourself a huge favor and saving one-self 70 minutes of frustration and aggravation. I could not even find an IMDB entry for this film, but maybe I just was not trying very hard. If you want to see for yourself if this film is as awful as I say it is, check out www.Diabolikdvd.com where it is for sale, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya first!