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Cemetery, The (2014)

The Cemetery (2014)Starring Natalie Jean, J.D. Brown, Adam Huss, Tim Cronin, Tabetha Ray

Directed by Adam Ahlbrandt

Distributed by Adversary Films


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The Cemetery (2014)Starring Natalie Jean, J.D. Brown, Adam Huss, Tim Cronin, Tabetha Ray

Directed by Adam Ahlbrandt

Distributed by Adversary Films


Let’s face it – you’re either a lover of low-budget, unrestrained, off-the-wall, gore and nudity-infused exploitation flicks, or you’re not. There is a fine line of uncertainty as to whether or not a “casual” horror fan is willing to forgo their safe, adolescent MTV-styled thrillers that have to pass routine inspection (and be thoroughly butchered by a board of censors) in order to receive that blessed PG-17 stamp of approval.

Take it if you will, and the majority of us are contented to do so (hell, I like light AM radio every now and then,) but I find myself gravitating more towards that filth and sleaze that the masses wish just doesn’t exist – kind of like that drunk relative that only shows up at family functions around the holidays, three sheets to the wind, squeezing siblings in places that aren’t acceptable, and rounding up the night telling off the family before yakking into the fireplace. Give me that sweet putrefaction that I’ve deprived myself of for so long !

Enter director Adam Ahlbrandt’s The Cemetery, a delve into the secrets and sins of the church in the olden days, and how covering up a heinous series of acts in the name of The Father can come back to wreak havoc upon the present-day soul. In 1671, scores of men, women and children were subjected to excruciating rites at the hands of clergymen in an attempt to rid them of the demons that supposedly had taken over their bodies. Another side of the story was that the alleged bedeviled were not possessed at all – they were merely victims to the murderous inclinations of the holy order. Hundreds of innocents were beheaded, and their remains were buried in a cemetery not far from their execution site.

As we flash forward to present-day, while the ghost-hunting phenomenon and its endless array of reality-TV show pseudo-paranormal “experts” are latching their hooks into every little bump in the night, “Ghost Seekers,” a spectral investigation program, has drawn the assignment of checking out the location of the crimes from some 740 years ago.

We then follow a production crew deep into the darkest depths of the Pennsylvania hills, led by J.D. Brown (Bill), and followed by supporting cast members Natalie Jean, Adam Huss, Tabetha Ray and Tim Cronin – their friendships are tepid (at best), and frustration doesn’t take very long to display itself amongst the group. Armed with a slew of camera equipment, camping supplies and a copy of the church’s historical record, they head out in what they hope will be an informative and slightly cynical dive into the truth behind the house of God’s sullied history. Well, not a whole lot of debauched time passes before one of the group suffers the unholy tragedy of satanic possession at the hands of a lone demonic figure that walks the woods at night (and has a small cameo on the crew’s camera). The results of said possession aren’t pretty – the afflicted turns into a rampaging psychopath that loves to inflict only the heaviest of gory suffering upon whatever unlucky living soul may be in the closest proximity.

This is where the gore comes into play, and the quantity is mighty – for a director like Ahlbrandt who never claimed to use the biggest budget, he makes the absolute lion’s share of the sheer amount of blood and guts that go splattering all over the woods. The kills are graphic and intense in their ferocity – no one gets a nice and peaceful dispatching, and that’s the way I like it: no off-camera cutting, no cheeseball CGI (not that the disbursement would allow it), and just a fine job of practical effects – once again, making the most out of what you brought to the party. Much like his previous film Cross Bearer, Ahlbrandt takes a seemingly simplistic idea and ramps it up to deliver a horror product that should please the masses.

Visually, what else can you expect from a nighttime slaughter-fest in the middle of the woods ? Well surprisingly enough with this particular photoplay, you’ll get much more than you bargained for – as the crew’s hopes are for presenting a “found-footage” type of display, we (luckily enough) don’t have to bear witness to it – the camera shots are solid and engaging, and provide a fantastic look at not only a slew of after-dark carnage, but a healthy dose of daytime decimation as well. J.D. Brown and Natalie Jean provide the superlative performances here, as they’re complimented nicely with a blend of humor and desperation from the remainder of the cast that leaves no role empty-handed.

In the end of it all, The Cemetery won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but should, with its gore and back story, provide a decent view of what can be done with an imaginative brain-pan and a shrunken budget – give this one a look if you get the chance.

7 out of 5

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