Watching Grave Halloween is a confusing experience. First we thought the plot was too obvious. Then we thought they’d actually made a creative plot. Finally we realized that we were wrong on both counts because the plot did not exist. However, if you’re looking for a movie that kills a lot of people, look no farther than Grave Halloween.
This SyFy original movie follows a group of college kids in Japan who are making a documentary about their friend’s quest to find her mother’s body in “Suicide Forest” and give it a proper burial. They run into terror when a group of pranksters who followed them in steal a dead man’s watch and the ghosts rise up to take their revenge.
But wait! There’s more! It turns out that our main character, Maiko (who is not at all Japanese), actually repressed a large part of her childhood and so forgot that she had a sister whom her mother killed. Now her mother is trying to lure Maiko into the forest/ghost realm so Maiko will die and stay with her forever.
The movie combines some real things like Suicide Forest and hungry ghosts but doesn’t really do them justice. For instance, a Japanese man named Jin mysteriously appears to guide them through the forest, and it’s clear right off the bat that he is a ghost. It’s also clear that there’s more to Maiko’s relationship with her mom than meets the eye. But throughout the film we get hints of some larger story that never comes to fruition, so when the final twist occurs, we’re left feeling disappointed.
Why does Jin help the homicidal mom pursue her daughter? Why doesn’t the good sister ghost actually defend Maiko from homicidal mom? Are all people who commit suicide automatically turned evil and murderous in the afterlife? And why couldn’t Maiko have performed the burial ceremony and send her mom onto the next world, thereby saving herself and her friends?
These questions are never answered, but what we do get is a lot of death. We see a guy hang himself, a ghost crush a man’s heart, another guy getting stabbed in the neck, and a particularly painful scene where man has his face eaten off by bugs coming out of a lady’s mouth. As you’d expect from a SyFy movie, the effects are pretty bad, but ultimately “Grave Halloween” gets its point across: The scare is more important than the plot.