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STORIES OF A GRAVEDIGGER CHAPTER 1:...
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: David Aubin, David Therrien, Steve Villeneuve, and Simon Geraghty

Starring:
Glen Alexander
Magenta Baribeau
Amelie Paul

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Three tales of horror are intertwined in this little 'anthology', which is tied together through small animated scenes involving two moronic children who encounter a sinister looking gravedigger.
Is it good movie?

First and foremost, there are 4 components to this story: the animated scenes between the stories, and the three tales themselves.

The first story is called 'Just Another Night', and deals with a sadistic hospital security guard with a murderous past (the guy even kills the handicapped!). Of course, his past catches up to him, and gets some sweet revenge. This one was easily the best part of this whole flick, with a few genuine 'boo' scare moments and an intriguing enough storyline to keep you watching.

The next part of the story is called 'La Diable' (which is french for The Devil, for all of you who aren't up on your francais), and involves a group of friends who head out on a camping trip. Of course, their site isn't just any site, it was a site where a brutal battle took place many years ago. What might happen on such a camping trip with friends? A pancake breakfast? Perhaps some frisbee? No, i'm afraid that people start getting offed by someone or someTHING, until the end is revealed, and while it is clever, it's not well executed and isn't a strong story overall.

The final fable is called 'Room 66', and this one's all about a writer who is forced to write his latest tale in one night, while slowly losing his sanity. Strange doings begin to transpire, and before you know it, the author is faced with hell itself, and immediately regrets not staying in the Hojo down the street. I liked this one too because it was pretty twisted and had a creepy vibe going for it, but it was a little hard to follow, and the acting was really hurting.

What needs to be said most of all here is that this movie suffers tremendously from the fact that the boys at Digger Films are all from Montreal, and are unfortunately mostly French. Their broken english dialogue is hard to follow, and doesn't enunciate well, and as a result, makes things hard to follow sometimes. This was a major, major downfall for me. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with being french (i'm all for harmony, no hate mail please!) but the same criticism was levelled against Memoirs of a Geisha, it should have been filmed in its original language, and some subtitles should have been slapped on.

That being said, I really dug the monster/creature effects used in this one, especially in the first story, that was top notch stuff for such a low budget flick. Finally, a note on the animated bumpers which fill the space between stories: this stuff is awful. While I was more than happy to watch this flick, whenever I had to endure these little cartoons, it made me want to run for the hills. I've read that some people really enjoyed these scenes, and I just can't understand why. The animation is stiff, choppy, poorly voiced,incredibly ham-fisted, cheesy, and just plain dumb. I know that these guys at Digger Films have a somewhat tongue-in-cheek approach to this stuff, but this seems like they owed their artist buddy a favor and stuck his stuff in there. It's really nasty stuff that must be avoided at all costs. The 'Grave Digger' theme is neat, but I really really hope that in the future, these guys won't go the same route.
Video / Audio
This one's shot on DV and presented in widescreen format, but I couldn't see the aspect ratio anywhere. It's pretty enough, and has that crisp, homemade digital video 'look' to it.

The audio format is also not listed, but it sounded'okay' on my system. Thing is, the movie isn't exactly an aural delight. Not having subtitles makes no sense at all, so you'd better turn this one up loud and listen closely if you want to hear all the dialogue.
The Extras
Behind the Scenes- This was an interesting little documentary about the guys and gals at Digger Films, and the trials and tribulations they had to go through to get this sucker made. They were going to do it years ago, until their equipment was stolen (not.cool.). It's also great to hear these guys talk about their passion for this stuff. It's passion that motivates us and makes us better. I've got hope for this little series!

Outtakes- a short bunch of flubs and other funny mishaps.

It should be noted that there were a few grammatical errors in the extras menu as well, hopefully that'll get cleaned up eventually. Finally, a few trailers for this flick round out the disc.
Last Call
I've got a bit of a soft spot for this one because I really enjoyed hearing the way the filmmakers talked about this film. The stories themselves, while not groundbreaking, were entertaining and delivered a few good moments. The only problem with this one lies in the translation and the animated scenes in between which lay on the cheese thicker than a river of ectoplasm in the sewers of NYC. A good friend of mine summed this one up well when he said "It was like a really ambitious media studies project that got a B+." I'd recommend this one because I think these guys deserve support and props for their hard work, even if it isn't perfect. Bring on Volume 2!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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