Tis’ the season and along with the many horror TV shows and movies that come around this time of year, so does the horror anthology which put together some short films which may delight horror fans looking for something to set the mood. Horror anthologies can come in many guises, they could just be straightforward short stories that go from one to another with no explanation and then there are anthologies that try to dress things up a bit and put a framing device around the proceedings. Grave Intentions falls into the latter.
Magical Madame Josephine (Joy Vandervort-Cobb) introduces her audience to the mystic arts of black magic. As Madame Josephine takes whatever she can get her hands on, she uses the stories within the anthology to elaborate on the points that she makes about magic. Some of which work and some that don’t.
Stories such as a dog-eat-dog situation between two women, a man cut down in his prime and a disappearance feel like stories that are a little unfinished. Also, an appearance early on by Robert Forster makes it feel like the story was found and there was a thought that his name could sell the anthology on that alone. However, thankfully there are better stories as the anthology goes along which end up being far more effective.
That’s the thing about most horror anthologies, because the short films are directed differently and are often have different production companies then the quality varies quite wildly.
What starts off with a short story that has recognisable faces, it suffers in its budget. Where there is a story about a man in prison whose life has changed irrevocably, it seems as if it doesn’t know how to end.
Unfortunately, it seems that the stories in Grave Intentions may have been gathered together from different sources with little or no idea what to do with them. This leads to Madame Josephine and her magical framing device being little more than an afterthought. The set, the props and her lazy characterisation may be tongue in cheek, but not so much as to suggest that the filmmakers are in on the joke.
Grave Intentions is hit and miss in terms of story, but maybe the most dreaded thing of all is the thought of having to go back to Madame Josephine as she hastily tries to connect the dots.
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