Open Grave

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Open Grave
Open Grave.jpg
Directed byGonzalo López-Gallego
Produced byMichael Wunderman
Written byChris Borey, Eddie Borey
StarringSharlto Copley
Joseph Morgan
Thomas Kretschmann
Erin Richards
Josie Ho
Max Wrottesley
Music byJuan Navazo
CinematographyJosé David Montero
Atlas Independent
852 Films
Speranza13 Media
Distributed byTribeca Film
Release date
  • August 14, 2013 (2013-08-14) (Italy)
  • January 3, 2014 (2014-01-03) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$489,812

Open Grave is a 2013 American post-apocalyptic zombie-like suspense film directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego, starring Sharlto Copley as Jonah Cooke and Thomas Kretschmann, Joseph Morgan, Erin Richards, Josie Ho, and Max Wrottesley in supporting roles. Josie Ho plays the character of a mute. All the characters excluding the mute suffer from amnesia and can't remember anything from their lives. The story follows them trying to figure out their identities and their past while evading zombie-like humans affected by rage virus and also their struggle to escape the forest they are stuck in.


A man (Sharlto Copley) wakes up in a large pit full of dead bodies and does not remember how he got there. In a panic he cries for help before a woman throws a rope down into the pit, allowing him to climb and escape.

The man eventually finds his way to a house and discovers five occupants. A mute woman who doesn't understand English, a German man and three Americans, none of whom can remember his or her identity, although they do soon realize that they can remember other aspects of their former lives (such as the ability to speak other languages).

After long arguments about who is to blame they eventually stumble onto their identities. The man, who has no ID, is called John Doe, the German is Lukas, and the other three are Sharon, Nathan and Michael. There are no documents for the mute. Lukas continues to be hostile toward John especially when the group uncovers a picture containing all of them, with the exception of John. A nearby calendar hints that something is going to happen in two days (on the 18th), but there are no notes to indicate what.

The next morning the group explores the surrounding area. John and Sharon stumble across a locked shelter. Inside is a child who refers to John as Jonah and is clearly terrified of him. The child refuses to answer any questions and Jonah is forced to flee.

Meanwhile, Michael hears screams in the background and follows them until he finds a man trapped in barbed wire. The man is heavily covered in cuts, bruises, and sores. He begs Michael for help, but when he goes to help, the man violently attacks Michael and he soon dies of his wounds.

Jonah suffers numerous flashbacks of violence toward people including slamming someone's head against a wall. He and Sharon come across a group of individuals chopping wood and the pair are forced to flee when the woodcutters give chase. Despite catching up with Jonah and Sharon the group gives up chase when they spot dead bodies hung from a tree.

Nathan gets attacked by a group of people in a zombie-like state, but manages to survive.

An increasingly ill Lukas stumbles across a video camera that contains clips of Jonah conducting medical experiments on him and others. In the clips, Jonah explains that the vaccine does prevent the infection spreading, but has the unfortunate side effect of rendering the recipient unconscious for several hours, lowering the pulse to just 30bpm, and causing temporary memory loss upon being awakened.

Lukas confronts Jonah and knocks him out, binding his hands and throwing him back in the body pit. Jonah escapes again, and while trying to drive as far away as he can, Jonah encounters the child from earlier and three others who are trying to escape. They abandon their car for another. They are adamant that his name is Jonah and that he is a dangerous man before driving away. Jonah explores the abandoned car, discovering a medical kit, documents addressed to him, and a photo of him and Sharon confirming the two knew each other previously.

Jonah finally has flashbacks that confirm his identity as Dr Jonah Cooke and that he was trying to cure a plague with the help of the rest of the group who turn out to be his medical team.

Jonah regains focus just in time to see a car hurtling towards him that is driven by a now nearly fully infected Lukas. Jonah manages to convince Lukas of what is happening, but the German dies before a life-saving injection can be given from a cooler containing vaccine that was in a nearby abandoned car and that was supposed to be delivered to the military.

As Jonah is driving back to the house to inform the others what is happening, his car runs out of gas as dawn approaches. Back at the house, the mute is hiding while Nathan and Sharon have now both fully regained their memories. Suddenly, the house is surrounded by a large group of the infected, and in desperation Sharon writes a letter to Jonah that explains what has happened and what the solution is.

She reveals that the mute is the key to survival as she is immune to a virus that has wiped out most of the world's population; that Jonah was the leader of the medical team that was trying to prevent it spreading and, if possible, cure the currently infected. Lukas had become infected a few weeks before the events of the films and Jonah had injected everyone with the vaccine just before he awakened in the pit at the beginning of the film.

The dawn of the 18th breaks and Nathan recalls that it was the date that the rescue team was due to come. Those zombie-like infected surrounding the house suddenly are all shot dead and everyone else seems safe. Nathan wanders outside the house and thanks the person or persons who saved his life. However, the soldier gets orders to leave no survivors. Nathan suddenly finds himself surrounded and then shot to death while Sharon and the now returned Jonah watch.

When trying to escape, Sharon is stabbed in the back by an infected woman.

With very few options available to them, Jonah decides that the only way to escape execution is if he and Sharon were to take the vaccine again, thus appearing to be dead until the soldiers disappear. They climb back into the pit of bodies from the beginning of the film and Sharon gives Jonah the letter she wrote earlier, telling him that he must remember.

Jonah passes into unconsciousness and the letter falls from his grasp. When he awakens later, Sharon has now died from her wounds although Jonah doesn't know who she is. The mute throws down a rope to allow him to escape. As his memory recovers, he and the mute start a journey to an unknown location. It is revealed in the note that the mute is the source of a cure, as her blood is immune to the infection. Finally, Sharon states a message for Jonah "my love, I remembered everything, we were both doctors on the verge of finding a cure for an awful plague that cast the world into darkness, the mute woman is the answer, her blood is immune to the virus you must protect her, you will find death and madness everywhere, but you have to fight to finish what we have started. we have no time Jonah, there are still people waiting to be saved, I know your memory will come back soon, when it does remember I love you".

The film ends with the pair coming across another pit of bodies that stretches for several miles.



The film is directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego.[1]

Filming occurred in May 2012 in Hungary. Copley was confirmed to star in the film on May 2, 2012.[2]

Josie Ho, Thomas Kretschmann, Joseph Morgan, Erin Richards, and Max Wrottesley were confirmed to join the cast on May 3, 2012. Filming also began on that day.[3]


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