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**NOTE** There have been a fair amount of people searching for this film as of late and the inquiry is whether or not the film is real. Well, I’d hate to piss in everyone’s cereal, but this film is certifiably100% FAKE **END NOTE**
The original Grave Encounters was a movie that was heavy on ambition and decent on scares. And while the film did possess a few creepy moments and a decent atmosphere it felt a bit like a retread of House on Haunted Hill and Paranormal Activity; in essence, it left a bit to be desired in terms of plot and narrative. The Flick had its fair share of flaws and lame CGI as well; sadly, the movie really never escaped the event horizon that is “rental-worthy” at best. The most memorable aspect of the film was the idea that the location in which the seemingly horrific events took place had its own internal physical laws, and could literally morph around its victims. It reminded me a bit of the house from the novel House of Leaves or the ship from the film Event Horizon . Though executed decently at best, apparently the flick garnered something of a cult following, so here we are in 2013 and Grave Encounters 2 is now out on DVD. Will the sequel exorcise its former demons or will it become prey to its past sins?
Grave Encounters 2 takes place exactly 9 years after the events of the first film. So, according to the sequel, the first Grave Encounters was based on a true story; the original Grave Encounters DVD was released in real-time in the sequel’s universe, and essentially the hype over the DVD of the first film causes a would be director/film school student to investigate the creepy shenanigans and attempt to uncover the truth. Alex the film’s protagonist, reviews the original film on his web log and eventually starts receiving messages from a user named deathawaits666. During one of their chats deathawaits666 informs him that the asylum from the original is a real place via coordinate points. What does this mean? Road trip!! Alex along with his best friend Trevor, his girlfriend Jennifer, her friend Tessa, and Howie the other cameraman set off to document their experience at the infamous asylum.
Now, we all know that horror movies have a bit of a meat grinder philosophy to them; give the audience what they want , whole sale death and dismemberment. The characters in these films often possess as much depth as a rain puddle, and more often than not they are dispatched quickly to make amends for their apparent shortcomings. However, its nice to see a horror movie that bothers to establish at least one of the characters,as well as taking a unique approach to story telling. And this is where Grave Encounters 2 excels; the film immerses you in its own unique universe.
The film does a great job of creating a believable narrative, and presents us with an interesting premise. The idea that this film takes place in “real-life” gives plenty of motivation for a slightly unhinged person to want to discover the truth. And Alex is just that: unhinged. He reminded me a bit of Jack from The Shining in that upon the initial viewing of the film you don’t notice how crazy he is, and it isn’t until subsequent viewings where you realize he was unsettled all along, and the place merely drew it out of him even more. Most of the other actors put on passable performances; the exceptions being the security guard and Howie who were cheesy at best. Lance (the protagonist from the first film) did the best job he could at feigning insanity, but ultimately the performance was a bit ham-fisted as well. First time director John Polquin did a great job of making Grave Encounters 2 bigger than it really is, and creating a truly terrifying, unpredictable location. The setting is a sadistic character in its own right and there were a couple of holy f#@% instances that I won’t spoil, but let’s just say the place messes with the characters minds in very eerie ways.
Some of the more annoying elements came in the form of stupid decisions….. I will no longer accept “let’s split up gang” as a viable option in a place that: A). creepy shit is going down, and B). you don’t know like the back of your idiotic hand; it’s a lame and insulting trope that deserve a swift burial. The back-story is pretty by the numbers and very Evil Dead meets House on Haunted Hill. Essentially, Dr. Friedkin summoned demons, performed evil rituals, and was a generally very mean man ; basically, post satanic experiments/rituals he didn’t close the circle , and we all know what that means: the demons never left. The things which are never explained are why the good doctor is attempting to summon demons in the first place, and why said demons want to be recorded on film; they seemed like strange and unexplored plot points that could have added some interesting implications to the supernatural proceedings. The film tried to be scary, but it took so long to set the film up that it felt like once they got to the hospital the filmmaker had to rush all the scary segments in, and the key to effective horror is adequate pacing. Tension is a slow moving process, and when the scares feel packed in so tight it takes something out of the film; you essentially aren’t giving the horror of the situation time to set in, and without doing this the audience is less likely to be scared.
For a found-footage film GE2 does a good job of making me not want to hurl a cinder block at the screen in order to prevent motion sickness. The CGI scenes in this one aren’t as obnoxious as they were in the original, which is good because the first film’s face morphing effects were terrible, and this point is hilariously mentioned in the film. While not on a Terminator 2 level, let’s just say for arguments sake that this sequel is definitely better than it’s predecessor , and does a good job of telling the story in an unconventional sense. Unfortunately,what holds the film back from being better is abysmal pacing , some ho-hum performances, and bad horror clichés; these elements put this film straight into the rental category. It’s a popcorn flick at best, but the re-watch value plummets upon sequential viewings.
Final Verdict : 2.75/5
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