Once upon a time a group of high school campers decided to pull a prank on one of their number in a graveyard when they were playing "run for your life," which is basically hide and go seek for drunken teenagers. The prank worked so well that he ended up dead, which was bad, but at least we understood why this film took all that time introducing the cast by having them go through a hole in an iron gate in supposedly interesting ways. Five years later we learn that despite their collective guilt, only Bobby (Patrick Scott Lewis), the kid behind the mask, was charged, convicted and imprisoned for the death. Bobby gets paroled and Michelle (Lindsay Ballew), takes him back to the place where it all happened so they can be killed by somebody in mask.
Okay, so that is not the real reason that everybody gets together for the first time since the tragedy, but it might as well be. This seems hardly a situation conducive to having a good time, let alone sex, but you know how these splatter flicks go. I have to say my main thought while watching this film was that I miss tan lines. That is because every time one of the young women in this film ends up naked I was struck by their tans. There is something odd about naked women being so tan in scenes shot at night since I tend to associate tanning with sunshine. But I also recall the old days, when women had tan lines and seeing them was something special, especially in the real world where there was an effort to make them go away. After all, this was something a woman did not want you to see, so like all such things, it made it worth seeing. Tan lines are sexy. Totally naked women, not so much.
Despite the ample red herrings, you should know who the killer is and why (actually "why" gives you "who"). We are talking strictly 1980s slasher cinema here, although the cinematography by Hank Baumert Jr. (winner of the Festival Prize for Best Cinematography at the 2003 Hollywood MiniDV Festival for "The Good Book"), is vastly superior to anything from that actual era. Too bad the story and acting are not up to the camera work. There is more gore than nudity, which is how it should be, and the only character who really stands out is the local sheriff (Sam Bologna) who still manages to fall asleep despite finding decapitated heads and an ex-con on parole. I have a rule about only giving splatter flicks only one star, and this film is not that bad and I actually got one good laugh on it (on the line, "Seriously...look under the bed").
My understanding is that "The Graveyard" was originally supposed to be "Bloody Murder 3," a series of camp slasher flicks that got off to a bad start with the original, gave significant signs of hope, and then went back to a lack of imagination for this offering. The common denominator is Camp Placid Pines for what little that is worth (Hey, boys and girls, how many serial killers does it take to close a summer camp?). There is a good horror film to be made in a graveyard, but this 2006 direct to video offering would not be it. So "Pet Sematary" would still be at the head of that small class.