Thursday, November 10, 2011

Grave Encounters (2011)

I'm not what you'd call a fan of reality television. If you are, then knock yourself out. Me? I'm spoiled by certain comedies from NBC ("Community" and "Parks and Recreations") and plenty of cable dramas, so I tend to lean towards stories and actors. That out of the way, reality shows have become a boom for horror, as everything from backwoods cannibals ("Wrong Turn 2") and found footage movies ("7 Nights of Darkness") have exploited the trend. Let's take a look at another "found footage" movie that's taken on reality television in "Grave Encounters."

Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) and his motley crew are a part of a supernatural/ghost hunting show "Grave Encounters." They are now filming in Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, where supernatural phenomena has talked about for years. Of course, they don't believe any of this, but little do they know...

Apart from a few effective moments (the most striking involving hands sticking out of walls), the most notable plus in this movie is the way it perfectly captures the stupidity of "ghost hunting/haunting/paranormal" shows. I've seen enough clips of these things to know how full of shit the creators are, so it's amusing to see a movie take a jab at that.

Apart from that, this isn't a particularly rewarding movie. It's clear that writer/director team The Vicious Brothers (yes, that's their names) are influenced by the wave of paranormal reality shows, but the movie does little that makes it stick out in the long rut of recent "found footage" movies. If you've seen any of the "[REC]" or "Paranormal Activity" movies, as well as "The Blair Witch Project", then you've seen this. It also doesn't help that most of the performances here are poor, especially Merwin Mondesir as always freaking out T.C. Finally, while there are some frightening images, there's also so many things you've seen before (people not putting the fucking camera down, something in the bathtub, ghosts that are like a mix of the infected in the "[REC]" movies and the murderous ghosts in the remake of "House on Haunted Hill") that it becomes difficult to care about what's going on.

"Grave Encounters" is a movie with pluses (a few okay scares, the fact that the Brothers Vicious show some potential), but left be unsatisfied by the time it was over. A noble attempt, but little more.

Rating: 4.5/10

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