Director: The Vicious Brothers
Starring: Sean Rogerson, Juan Riedinger, Ashleigh Gryzko and Mackenzie Gray
Grave Encounters (2011)
Grave Encounters is yet another horror movie in the plague of found footage films that is currently sweeping the genre. In the tradition of films like The Blair Witch Project, REC, Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity, The Devil Inside, The Last Exorcism and The Fourth Kind (to name but a few) the movie is supposedly constructed from footage found after something horrible happened to its makers; usually involving bad acting. This time round it’s a TV crew out making a reality TV series, imaginatively called Grave Encounters, in which they investigate areas believed to be haunted. We are told that the footage was edited down from 72 hours, and that all was going well with the show until they visited Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, an abandoned psychiatric institute, where the filmmakers went missing.
The movie was written and directed by newcomers The Vicious Brothers a.k.a. Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz. As a first attempt it isn’t too bad, but Grave Encounters didn’t tick too many horror boxes for me. At 90 minutes shouldn’t feel long, but does. Very. Longer than the face on a pet-shop snake. So long that I started doubting whether the footage was actually edited down from 72 hours or whether they decided to just show the raw footage after all. The movie also gets increasingly silly and unbelievable as it goes along, and when I say the movie gets silly I mean that, to me, it was about as frightening as the Teletubbies, which, while terrifying on a deeper level, still wouldn’t keep you awake at night. The Vicious Brothers claim that they wanted to move away from the “safe and predictable” nature of American horror movies over the past decade. If that was truly their intention then they have not succeeded. Grave Encounters is both safe and predictable and yet fails to be either scary or funny all at the same time. It’s like receiving a bad kiss and feeling too awkward to tell the other person because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.
Grave Encounters starts okay, but quickly fizzles into a mess of bad dialogue, silly special effects and tried and tested formulas. By the end I didn’t care about any of the characters and wanted them to be ghost-falcon-punched just so the movie would end. Unless you really love the found footage / mockumentary style of film making and will settle for a few jump scares I doubt you’ll find anything here to rave about. Unless it’s a “sadness rave” at Depression Club during Tear Festival. Session 9 is a far superior creepy mental hospital movie in my opinion, and well worth a look.
I give Grave Encounters forgettable 5 mental patients out of 10… and a lobotomy in this review. Personally I needed the lobotomy just to sit through the entire 90 minutes. Did this movie scare you? If so, why? Let me know in the comments.