There are times when you read a snippet of something or see a trailer of a show or a movie that instantly hooks you and leaves you wanting to know more. I had that experience with a show that just started streaming its first season exclusively on TOPIC called THE GRAVE. When you toss in mystery, science and a few skeletons, you best believe that my attention has been grasped. The million dollar question is, though, now that they had my attention could they keep it? Be aware there are MODERATE SPOILERS AHEAD.
THE GRAVE is a 2019 Israeli series that begins with an earthquake. The earthquake isn’t ALL THAT serious but it does manage to open a hole in the ground in a nature reserve. Inside that pit are three skeletons that have been there for up to a year. As the police (Michal Kalman, Tsahi Halevi) work to figure out who the bodies belong to, we are introduced to a ranger at the reserve named Yoel (Nadaz Netz), who is a single parent after his wife dies in a car accident, Niko (Shalom Michaelshwilli), who is a sensory artist and a psychic of sorts that has visions, and Avigail (Liana Ayun), who is in prison for murder but maintains that it was self defense. When the DNA results of the skeletons show that they belong to Avigail, Yoel, and Niko, the problem is that these people are still very much alive. The eight-episode first season works to unravel the mystery of who the bodies actually belong to, how they got into the pit, and how they could possibly belong to people who are still actively using those skeletons.
THE GRAVE features audio in Hebrew along with English subtitles. This show starts sloooooow and it took halfway through the series before it wasn’t just a dialogue and monologue festival. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the slow burn but when you are dealing with a series and it takes four episodes of world building before any questions begin to get solved, you are going to lose a lot of viewers. That being said, it DOES kick into gear midway through. You begin to delve into the scientific theory of parallel universes, doppelgangers and crime. While the subject seems so mystical, it remains feeling more like a true crime show than a sci-fi mystery.
I was hoping for an explosive season finale and I believe that is what THE GRAVE was going for, but after slogging through so much to get to that point, it just isn’t as impactful as I was hoping it would be. Despite all of that, this isn’t a bad show and if you are a dialogue superfan and love a slow roast, instead of a super sizzler, then this will tickle your fancy because the idea is really interesting and original. THE GRAVE uses a very standard color change filter to indicate what you’re looking at (I’m being purposefully vague) which in my opinion is very hokey at this point. It’s not an ugly show but overall, there were just some issues with execution. Apparently we have been sleeping on Israeli shows and movies, though, because every country tends to have their own feel to the way movies are made and I did like the feel of this show and would like to see more, especially in the horror and sci-fi genre.
You can watch THE GRAVE now on TOPIC and just remember to push past those first four episodes and it will kick up a bit.