Panic Fest Review: An Unquiet Grave

Sorrow swallows a family whole in this supernatural chiller

Grief is a vortex. It doesn't seem so bad if you're at the periphery, but its pull is still there. Once you're in its grasp, you have no clear direction out, and the path into its swirling, disorienting grasp seems inevitable.

An understated two-hander, A Quiet Grave binds together Ava (Christine Nyland) and Jamie (Jacob A. Ware) over the death of Julia - her twin sister, his wife. Initially, it pulls them apart, and it's wrecking Jamie, as shown in a graveside meeting. But those ties or mourning are too strong, and become a supernatural pact. "There isn't any right or wrong," Jamie states in omen. "There's just what happens."

That's how he justifies violating the cosmic balances, and bringing Ava with him. Magic of the darkest kind is in order, to bring Jamie back, and as always there is a price to be paid. The question is, of course, who pays that bill.

A tragic and sometimes ghoulish tale of necromantic romance, An Unquiet Grace is a very different take on piercing the dark veil than star and writer Nyland's last collaboration with writer/director Terence Krey, the 20something comedy horror web series Graves. Tragedy seeps quietly through every frame, as it becomes clear that both Ava and Jamie are prepared to commit unnatural transgressions to get their shared loved one back.

It's also a lesson in filmmaking elegance, not overstretching either the script or its limited budget. At a time when so many filmmakers telling shorter feature stories deliberately tack towards The Twilight Zone, the 76-minute An Unquiet Grave more evokes the measured, mournful horror of Rod Serling's other great creation, Night Gallery. Moreover, where too many small horror films overstretch to cram in FX gags that they cannot pull off, An Unquiet Grave makes extraordinary and spartan use of one amazing prop. Other than that, it's mostly just two people in a car, working through their mourning, justifying the unjustifiable, and that's all it needs.

An Unquiet Grave streams as part of the virtual Panic Fest through April 18. Passes and tickets available via

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Panic Fest, An Unquiet Grave, Christine Nyland, Jacob A. Ware

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