Back in the late 1600's, priests performed violent exorcisms on men and women of all ages in Pennsylvania. Now a couple of buddies are going there to investigate the legend for their TV show "Ghost Seekers". Between filming they mess around and get dirty, but soon they find themselves in the middle of the legend whether the like it or not when the possessed find their way back to life.
Adam Ahlbrandt made a big splash with "Cross Bearer", a quite conventional slasher filled where the boobs and gore was essentially the main course. While it wasn't a bad watch, I wasn't one of those who praised in the most. It was, however, good enough for me to be curious about what else he had to offer. In "The Cemetery" we're stepping away from the cloth-masked psycho and take a look at how Ahlbrandt treats the subject of demons and possessions, a theme much more in my taste.
From the get-go we're treated to the backstory of this movie. In 1671, priests were performing exorcisms on possessed men, women and children, but the possessions didn't stop there. The evil still sleeps in the cemetery where they were buried, in the Pennsylvania woods, and soon a group of young adults will be disturbing their sleep. Friends are going to shoot an episode for the TV show "Ghost Seekers", and the focus of the episode is that very legend and whether it is true or not. As we, the audience, knows, it's very much true and we're just waiting for the demons to start killing off these more or less despicable people.
One thing that became apparent straight after the opening credits was that "The Cemetery" is not really a serious movie at all. The jokes within the group are below the belt and silly, the characters act as the most stereotypical horror movie characters you can imagine (where it underlines their interest in sex over and over again) and whenever boobies or gore is on the screen the movie instantly slows down and focuses. It's all intentional, of course, so it's not like this will come as a surprise to the filmmakers when they read the review. Whether it worked or not? Well that's a different thing altogether! I would say that it doesn't make it a bad movie, but it does make any attempt at sympathy and interest in the plot itself feel pointless. We're struggling to actually care what will happen next.
However, it does work as the gore movie that it is. Whenever a movie starts with heavy music such as death metal, you kinda know where the movie stands. It's not gonna be a haunting little movie, but rather it will be violent and pushing evil down your throat. The gore in "The Cemetery" proves this point, as it's plentiful and often exaggerated. The effects look good for the most part, so it's not really a problem. It IS a gore movie, and it works as such. It has some moments of nudity that didn't work quite as well. Instead the nude scenes came off as unnecessarily and a bit forced ("We're making a twisted gore movie, we need to add boobies!"). I'm not one to judge nudity, but it didn't feel like it belonged here as it was always thrown away in more of less silly scenes.
"The Cemetery" might be far from "Cross Bearer" in many aspects, but it does share gore being the driving factor. "The Cemetery" is overall a very well made movie when you look past the annoying characters and the shallow plot. It might be "just" a gore movie, but it presents it like a true professional. If Adam Ahlbrandt continues like this he could very possibly be put next to names like Olaf Ittenbach in the future. Especially looking at what Ittenbach makes nowadays. I can't help but be a bit disappointed in "The Cemetery" since the opening sequence showed a lot of promise of a dark, unnerving and brutal demon movie, but it ends up being a by-the-numbers horror with clichéd, stupid characters. I mean, other than all of the gore, which means that "The Cemetery" will please any gore fan when all is said and done. Will I continue to watch the work of Adam Ahlbrandt? Of course I will!