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Grave Encounters

Year of Release: 2010
Theatrical Release Date:
Info coming soon

Director: The Vicious Brothers
Writing Credits:
The Vicious Brothers
Rating:
Info coming soon
Run Time:
92 mins
Studio: Twin Engine Films

Cast: Sean Rogerson, Juan Riedinger, Ashleigh Gryzko, Mackenzie Gray

More Info: Visit Official Site

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Summary: Lance Preston and the crew of "Grave Encounters", a ghost-hunting reality television show, are shooting an episode inside the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, where unexplained phenomena has been reported for years. All in the name of good television, they voluntarily lock themselves inside the building for the night and begin a paranormal investigation, capturing everything on camera. They quickly realize that the building is more than just haunted - it is alive - and it has no intention of ever letting them leave. They find themselves lost in a labyrinth maze of endless hallways and corridors, terrorized by the ghosts of the former patients. They soon begin to question their own sanity, slipping deeper and deeper into the depths of madness, ultimately discovering the truth behind the hospital's dark past...and taping what turns out to be their final episode.

Reviewer Film Ratings:
Plot: 2.5 | Fun Factor: 4 | Gore: 1 | Nudity: 1 | Scare Factor: 4.5 | Overall: 3.5/5

A Tasty Little Horror Nugget
Reviewed by thedarkhours

Grave Encounters is a 2011 horror film directed by the Vicious Brothers and is currently available to stream on Netflix. The narrative, which is very familiar, follows the crew of a ghost hunting show as they attempt to survive the night in a psychiatric hospital. The movie is shot “found footage” style. As the movie opens we are presented with a television network executive dramatizing about how the crew disappeared and the movie’s footage is all that’s left of them. This scene is presented as dead serious just as many found footage films in the past.

If you take a moment to analyze this, you might ask how are we even seeing this right now? Did the network keep a copy after they turned it in to the police? Are we watching police evidence? The guy says point blank, “This is absolutely real, we have not edited or doctored this footage in any way.” Really? At this point after films like Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity, who are they kidding?

I had heard mixed reviews about Grave Encounters. I had heard it was goofy, that it was scary and that it was crap. The truth is that it's not bad. The most outstanding element is the grandiose Collingwood hospital. Set anywhere else, the film would lose half its effectiveness. The hallways are wide and infinite. Strange noises echo and reverbrate everywhere. There are rooms decorated with writing on every wall. Mysterious glass doors open to nowhere. The producers knew they had a special opportunity with Collingwood and they don't squander it.

The other element that must be touched upon is the performance by Ben Wilkinson. His reality host exudes just the right amount of charisma, charm and swindler smarminess. Like Jennifer Carpenter’s lead reporter in Quarantine, Wilkinson is also willing to bend the rules to get ratings. In one of the more entertaining early scenes while gathering interviews, the Ghost Hunting team runs into a groundskeeper. At first he is reluctant to talk about anything supernatural, but after a bribe and a second take, he hilariously insists that he has seen a ghost. It’s this element of levity that makes the slow first half bearable.

This peek behind the scenes is fun to watch and had it been original would have elevated Grave Encounters above the other horror dreck out there, but we’ve already seen this just one year prior in The Last Exorcism with similar results. Here lies the real problem with Grave Encounters. It plays like a greatest hits collection of horror with elements borrowed from better films like Session 9 and Paranormal Activity.

And so the first half proceeds as set up and vapid character development. The horror starts innocently enough. We see a character set down the camera and talk on the phone. In the background and from a static shot something moves by itself paranormal activity style. Only we know it happened. But by the end of the 3rd act we are in a maelstrom of chaos and spectral activity.

By this point most people will figure they have seen everything before. And you would be right but it’s in the second half after things have hit the fan that the film shines. Reality starts to warp and nothing is as it seems. Corridors go on forever and night never ends. We see grotesque ghostly faces and members of the crew start to lose their grip on sanity. The intensity is impressive and these touches are what elevate GE above an also ran film.

What we have here is an internet sensation. This is definitely a film that feels like it was made exclusively for the online arena. In no way would I recommend Grave Encounters if it weren’t so easily accessible. It is readily available on both Netflix and Amazon Prime. It is a cheap movie that manages to surprise you in some ways. Everything feels like a retread down to the name of the directors. The Vicious Brothers sound like the Butcher Brothers who directed The Hamiltons years earlier. This is a tidy little snack that will leave you satisfied because you didn’t expect anything so sweet.

Reviewer Film Ratings:
Plot: 3 | Fun Factor: 3 | Gore: 2 | Nudity: 0 | Scare Factor: 4 | Overall: 3.5/5

Effectively Chilling With Some Good Scares
Reviewed by thedarkhours

When a television crew for the fictitious “Grave Encounters” shoot an episode in an old abandoned Psychiatric Hospital, they had no idea that the tricks and audience manipulation that the show incorporated would give way to a terrifying ordeal where real ghosts and paranormal activity will have them racing for their lives. That’s the idea behind the new found footage film Grave Encounters, a film that will likely take some searching to find, but is well worth the effort thanks to a hauntingly frightening final half.

The Grave Encounters crew consists of four individuals – Lance, Matt, Sasha and Houston. Lance is the face of Grace Encounters and is the unofficial leader of the group. While the other’s hold cameras or play their acted roles in the paranormal fraud, Lance orchestrates the show instructing others on what to shoot or calling out the spirits in an attempt to have them show themselves.

For effect, the crew is locked within the Hospital for the evening. The doors are chained and the caretaker informs them that he will be back in the morning to release the catches. The group immediately takes a tour of the facility, recording as they move through the darkened hallways and rooms and calling out for the spirits that are rumored to be haunting the Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital.

At sometime throughout the night, things begin to appear on camera – a wheelchair is moved or a window is opened. These small incidents of paranormal evidence are nothing compared to the events the crew will encounter over the length of their ordeal. With escape impossible and with the facility seemingly adapting in labyrinth of hallways and fake exits, the scares become horrors as each of the four members suffer fates by the will of the entities that haunt the corridors.

Directed by The Vicious Brothers, Grave Encounters is another in what seems like a long stream of films attempting to cash in on the popularity of Paranormal Activity. But where most have failed (My Little Eye, Redacted), Grave Encounters proves that there is still some life to be drained from the damp genre sponge.

That’s not to suggest that Grave Encounters is not without issue. The first quarter of the film seems forced and the characters seemed hardly believable as television personalities. I don’t so much blame the actors themselves as I do the dialogue that may or may not have been improvised (either way, it didn’t come across as authentic).

When the four begin their night’s stay in the hospital, the acting takes a back seat to the reacting to various scares and spooks most of which are effective with some being out and out bloodcurdling. An introduction to the film had us concluding that none of the four participants in the stunt were found alive so the fate of each character becomes something of a ‘guess who’s next’ and The Vicious Brothers effectively move things along while generally keeping the hand held cameras steady amongst all the chaos.

Grave Encounters ends up being one of the scarier films of the year. Like most found footage films, you have to buy into the premise early, but if you do, the payoff could be immense. And watching the film in the middle of the night in a darkened room is sure to give you goosebumps – even as the characters hurdle their phony introductions.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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