Day 20 of 31
Grave Encounters – (Horror, Supernatural, Found footage, 2011) (18) D: Colin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz and others P: Shawn Angelski, Michael Karlin and others C: ben Wilkinson, Sean Rogerson, Ashleigh Gryko, Merwin Mondesir. 1h 32m. USA.
One of the most easily accessible and favourite found footage horrors, that is literally spread very thickly over YouTube in video’s claiming to have real ghost footage, so I feel like I’ve done myself a disservice by not watching this sooner because it now plays out like a YouTube best ghost clips real and at various points throughout the movie I was in full dejavu mode. Still it’s an uneasy yet engaging supernatural movie. Written and directed by the Vicious Brothers and premiering in 2011, it strives to and succeeded to deliver a few new haunts to the found footage genre.
The crew of a paranormal reality television program, called Grave Encounters; lock themselves in a haunted psychiatric hospital, their search for evidence digs up more than they could ever imagine. The film starts with an effective raw shot intro that details how the team went missing and that the following footage was recovered from the site and placed in chronological order, nothing new so far… and to be fair there is nothing new in the whole movie but it is pieced together intelligently and is just good wholesome horror.
They were searching for proof… they found it.
Soon after the Grave Encounters team secure themselves into the hospital and arrange a series of cameras, they begin to film the show and almost instantly mysterious things begin to happen. the events get more frequent and more violent causing the team to dig deeper into the dark history of the asylum in order to escape but time is against them.. or at least it used to be.
Simplicity is the key to this film, it’s actually quite brilliant for found footage, it doesn’t try to be uber real, it gives some excuses as to it’s origins but then it just aims to entertain. The effects aren’t over the top but very well executed, working with jump scares and shock tactics it does keep a viewer on the edge of their seat and unsettled.
For their ghost hunting reality show a production crew locks themselves inside an abandoned mental hospital that’s supposedly haunted – and it might be over to be all too true.
Mental asylums might always prove to be a staple within the horror genre, the remake of House on Haunted Hill and several other horrors are all set in the confined of an existing or retired home, and generally they are pretty terrifying places. The magic here lies with the fact that the audience gets what it wants. There is a messy paranormal story that eventually sorts itself out, with a variety of jump scares and an impending doom which builds up, as the crew succumb to darker and more terrifying foes. For me the scene with the hollow eyed mental patient who’s almost impossibly tall who climbs through a door chasing the crew was the bee’s knees, it’s the style of in your face horror that is lacking in other found movies, as they tend to make everything happen in the shadows, along the side-lines and force the viewer to search out for things.
It’s a good thrill for Halloween night and has spawned a half decent sequel, it’s great that asylums have a brand new lease of fear.
Rating – 6/10
R: Grave Encounters 2 (2012), Blair Witch Project (1999) , Paranormal Activity (2007), Chernobyl Diaries (2012).
L – Asylum movies