Open Graves Promotional Poster
|Directed by||Álvaro de Armiñán|
|Produced by||Antonio Cuadri
Juan Carlos Orihuela
|Written by||Bruce A. Taylor
|Music by||Fernando Ortí Salvador|
|Edited by||Alchemedia Films
|Distributed by||Voltage Pictures|
|Running time||100 minutes|
In the medieval era, a witch named Mamba is tortured and skinned alive in punishment for her crimes. Her skin and organs are then used to make a cursed game. If a player wins the game they are granted a wish, however if a player loses the game they are killed in a fashion predicted by the game.
Present day, Jason (Mike Vogel), while shopping with his friend Tomas (Iman Nazemzadeh) and Tomas' girlfriend Lisa (Lindsay Caroline Robba), acquires the board game from a handicapped shop owner called Malek (Alex O'Dogherty). The three friends travel back to Tomas' beachfront house, and at night a party occurs on the beach. Jason meets Erica (Eliza Dushku), before it begins to rain, causing most of the partiers to leave, leaving behind only Jason, Erica, Tomas, Lisa, Elena (Naike Rivelli), Miguel (Ander Pardo) and Pablo (Boris Martinez). Erica suggests that the group should play the game, to which they all agree. However, Pablo is soon eliminated and takes Tomas' car to go to the shop and get beer. On his travel, Pablo stops to urinate, but falls over the edge of a cliff. He survives the fall, but is barely alive. A group of crabs then attack Pablo, gouging out his eyes and killing him. Meanwhile, Miguel, Lisa, Elena and Tomas also lose the game, before Detective Izar (Gary Piquer) arrives and alerts the group of Pablo's death, cutting the game short.
The group attend Pablo's funeral, where Erica realizes his death mirrors the games prediction. Soon after, Tomas, Lisa and Miguel travel to a wood-cutting factory, that belongs to Miguel's family but is currently empty, to have a photo shoot. While Lisa models, she feels unwell and stops the photo shoot and leaves with Tomas. After their departure, Miguel is attacked by snakes. He attempts to climb a stack of logs, but a snake bites him and he falls into a large group of snakes that kill him with their venomous bites. Meanwhile, Jason and Erica start up a romance. While they are in Jason's car they witness ghostly versions of Pablo and Miguel, before they receive a call from Tomas telling them of Miguel's death. Jason and Erica meet Tomas, Lisa and Elena at Tomas' apartment where they tell the others they suspect the group are dying because of the game. Tomas, Lisa and Elena remain skeptical to the idea however. After Jason, Erica and Elena have left, Lisa becomes more ill. Tomas tends to her, before the pair go to bed. The following morning, Lisa has aged significantly into an old woman and is rushed to hospital.
Jason, Erica and Elena arrive at the hospital and tell Detective Izar their theory about the game. They then go in to see Lisa. Elena becomes distraught at her appearance and about her friends deaths, leaving despite Tomas' attempts to get her to stay. Lisa soon dies, prompting Jason, Erica and Tomas to seek answers from Malek. They find Malek at his home where he is no longer handicapped. He explains to them that he won the game and wished to no longer be handicapped. Meanwhile, Elena is traveling home to Milan in her car when she is involved in a car accident. Her car leaks gas, and a broken electrical wire ignites it, burning Elena to death. Jason, Erica and Tomas go to Jason's house where they find Detective Izar looking for the game. Jason and Erica escape with it, but Tomas is caught by the Detective, who puts him in the trunk of his car. Later, Jason receives a call from the Detective demanding the game in return for Tomas, but Tomas attempts to escape and the Detective shoots him dead.
At Tomas' beachfront house, Jason and Erica decide to play the game in hope that they can win and wish for it to be a week in the past, so their friends would be alive. Erica is eliminated, and realizes her death will involve the sea. Jason wins the game, and will get his wish as long as he passes the game onto another person. Jason and Erica go to bed, but Erica discovers she must die for Jason to get his wish, so she enters the sea. Jason wakes up and rushes out to save her, but Detective Izar shows up and takes the game away and leaves. Erica then emerges from the sea and reveals herself to be Mamba, granting Jason his wish that they had never played the game. However, Jason and his friends then become trapped, forced to relive the week again and again.
- Eliza Dushku as Erica/Mamba
- Mike Vogel as Jason
- Iman Nazemzadeh as Tomas
- Naike Rivelli as Elena
- Lindsay Caroline Robba as Lisa
- Gary Piquer as Detective Izar
- Alex O'Dogherty as Malek
- Ander Pardo as Miguel
- Boris Martinez as Pablo
- Jose Casasús as Novio
- Lilliam Kouri as Malek's Wife
- Martxelo Rubio as Police Officer
- Enrique Zaldua as Detective / Police Officer
The film was shot in Spain from October to November 2006 under the working title Mamba in Getxo, Sopelana, Mundaka, Vizcaya, País Vasco and Madrid. The movie has been picked up for distribution by Voltage Pictures and will be released in 2009. The official trailer and poster were released on February 26, 2008.
Curiously, this movie has not been released in Spain yet.
The rock band Showpay recorded seven songs for the soundtrack, and shot a music video in which their members played "Mamba" and died. The soundtrack has been composed by Fernando Orti Salvador and recorded in Bratislava with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Hernando.
Mamba board game
||This section describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (April 2010)|
In the movie's universe, the fictional game's board and pieces were made from the skin and body of a witch named Mamba Mosamba who was tried, convicted and executed of witchcraft during the Spanish Inquisition under Torquemada. The game consists of a wooden case with a dragonfly motif, a board with sequential spaces laid out in a spiral, an instruction sheet, small wooden playing pieces, two dice, a set of cards, and a central tower with two snakes and a dial.
The object of the game is for a player to get their playing piece to the center space, and then place that piece in the correct snake's mouth. Spaces are either safety spots known as "Windows of Heaven" or spaces with Grim Reapers shown known as "Open Graves", which cause the player to draw a card. If the card is an Epitaph (a card with the words Vae Victis written below), the player who drew it is dead. If the card is not an Epitaph card, that player is safe.
Even if all but one player is dead, that player must continue playing until they reach the center. They do not need to reach the center space by exact count. Once there, they must ask the tower one question and place the playing piece in either the mouth of the black snake Spatium (Space) or of the white snake Tempus (Time). If they choose correctly, their wish comes true. If they choose wrongly, they suffer the same fate as the witch: being skinned alive. Even if they choose correctly, the wish does not come true until all the players are dead from the effects of the Epitaph cards drawn during the game and the game is passed onto someone else.
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