An interesting mindtwister

Mine Games is certainly an entertaining low-budget film, even with the very clear influences from the likes of I Know What You Did Last Summer and Triangle. In fact, it’s the later of the mentioned pair that’s been “borrowed” from the most, story-wise at least. The problem with mentioning more is that I’d give away too much, thereby spoiling it for those who haven’t seen the excellent Triangle yet, but this really isn’t a bad knock-off of said flick. That was released in 2009, filmed off the Australian coast and had a healthy budget of $13 million. This, on the other hand, was filmed in a dirty old Seattle mine, but had a budget of only $1.5 million, and I have to say, was mostly as effective.

Mine Games
Directed by
Richard Gray
Joseph Cross, Julianna Guill, Briana Evigan, Ethan Peck, Rebecca Da Costa
DVD Release Date
27 August, 2013
Influx Grade: B-

What is interesting is that the story was written by Robert Cross, who worked in some capacity, on Saw and Insidious but this isn’t a James Wan movie. This was helmed by the very able Australian director Richard Gray, who added nice little touches of style, not often seen in low-budget horror movies. Like when food or drinks are being prepared, he does the quick-cut shots of the preparation, keeping the camera nice and tight, with an emphasis on the sound-effects. The script was where this movie was weak, with some unconvincing actions by the characters, I mean, after making the discovery that would blow your mind, and scare the living crap out of you, you wouldn’t agree to go back. No way, no how. The acting was very good by a solid cast of fairly well known young actors, drawn from everywhere, and along with the direction, kept this film moving along rather well.

The character of Lex was played by the talented Brit actor Rafi Gavron (Celeste & Jesse Forever), the mega-annoying British cousin of one of the group, and his performance was so convincing you wanted to see him beaten to death — very very slowly (well, I did anyway). We also had some excellent eye-candy for us guys, including the sultry Brazilian born Rebecca Da Costa who played Rose, someone who appeared to be in-tune with the spirit world — Lindsay Lamb, Julianna Guill (Crazy Stupid Love) and Briana Evigan (S. Darko). Now, while watching Mine Games I hadn’t looked at the cast-list until I was watching the end credits, because I thought I knew who I was looking at, and could have sworn was either Shawn Ashmore (X-Men) or his twin bro Aaron, but in actual fact was a bearded Joseph Cross, fooling me completely. The likeness is uncanny, add to the fact the subject of this movie had him talking to his own likeness, then you can understand the confusion. There is an excellent article here on Influx discussing this very sort of thing titled The Paxton-Pullman Paradigm.

The premise; a group of young adults decide to meet some friends at a cabin in the woods (I know). On the way they almost splatter someone on the road, causing them to veer wildly and break the fuel-line. They now have to walk and after arriving find a note, but not their friends, so after fixing the generator the group settle in for the night and start to party. They go out exploring the next day and discover an old creepy mine but after returning back to the cabin, Lex realises he’s dropped his wallet and returns with TJ, where they discover their own dead bodies in a storage room within the mine. Rose starts seeing her friends as rotting corpses but because the car isn’t working they can’t leave unless they walk and Rose is in no fit state to travel. They return to the mine and make even more discoveries that terrify them all. This is a movie that will be popular with anyone not too familiar with this sort of horror and it will either thrill or confuse, but it should ultimately please most folk.

By Ed Blackadder