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Sunday, October 16, 2011

[6.25/10] Grave Encounters (2011)


Grave Encounters (2011)

Brief review: Written and directed by The Vicious Brothers, "Grave Encounters" is yet another horror film shot in the popular 'found footage' style. It has the typical 'mockumentary' premise, about a group of thrill-seeking enthusiasts (in this case a ghost-hunting reality TV crew) who investigate unexplained events involving the paranormal in a creepy setting. "The Tunnel", "Haunted Changi" and "Deserted House" anyone? Anyway, despite its formulaic concept, "Grave Encounters" still manages to be enough scary and effective to give viewers nightmares for days, due to the competent POV camera work, taut pacing and tons of jump-of-your-seat scares, but mostly thanks to the darkly claustrophobic and sinister location it's been shot. The abandoned psychiatric hospital is nothing short of terrifying, especially during the night. It's a twisting maze of creepy corridors and staircases, and knowing that the characters are locked in there, makes you feel extremely uncomfortable. The final act lets the film down, as it all goes a bit out of control to the point of being ludicrous. The cast does a fairly decent job, with a few exceptions - Sean Rogerson is mediocre at best, and Ashleigh Gryzko is just terrible as Sasha. She should never ever act again.

Overall summary: Although it gets a bit ridiculous towards the end, "Grave Encounters" is still a well made, chilling, and claustrophobic mock-doc, that fans of the genre will enjoy, if they don't take it too seriously, because the it's just too implausible to be realistically scary.

16 comments:

Caledonia Lass said...

Hmm, not a huge fan of the 'found footage' stuff. But I love Ghost Hunters. lol!
Good review. I may have to check this out. You know, I'm going to have to keep visiting your page and putting these movies in my Netflix queue. ;)

Nebular said...

Many women hate the 'found footage' genre. I have no idea why. When it's done well, it's very effective!

Thanks!

Do it then, but you risk to spend the rest of your life watching movies. LOL.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Found footage is close to being overused, but if done right (like with Trollhunter) it works. And the setting of an old psychiatric ward was effective in Session 9, so I'll give this one a shot.

Melissa Bradley said...

Thank you Caledonia Lass!! :)

George, hon, we hate found footage because it's cheap filmmaking. It's why women can't stand 99% of porn. LOL Seriously, hand held camera as a filming technique is unsteady and limited. You don't have the breadth of scope which is required for excellent filmmaking IMO. :) I want to see the slaughter in full screen with killer and victim together and in living color, not just get a few splashes of blood and a bunch of unsteady streaming video.

Not gonna make a convert of me, no matter how excellent your reviews are. I still love you, though. :)

Nebular said...

Alex, it's close but not yet. The genre has a room to grow and I believe in it. The setting is much creepier than the one in Session 9. In fact, I hated Session 9. It was incredibly dull and not at all scary.

Nebular said...

Mel, or probably women just don't get this genre? :) If it's effective, it doesn't matter if it's cheap, hon. It may be limited, but it's much closer to reality, and when speaking of horror movies, being believable, and authentically scary is one of the most important things. If an action movie is being shot in POV style it would be stupid, but it works for the horror genre, and there are many, many found footage horror stuff whether you like that or not. :)

Love you, too, sweetheart, and thanks for all the compliments to my writing.

Melissa Bradley said...

I can see what you're saying. Found footage is just not scary to me. It's more frustrating, really, like watching one of those werewolf movies where we get only eyes, a claw then buckets of fake blood.

Sweetie,for me, horror is not about being realistic, it's about being scary and fun and letting me lose myself in some character's misery for a while. :)I can't kill people in real life, but I love watching someone else do it in a horror film and found footage takes that away from me. I respect why you like it though. Hugs! :)

Nebular said...

Mel, I respect your opinion as well, and I'm not trying to convince you to like FF stuff, I just don't think you give it a chance. You loved [REC], right? Well, REC is also a moc-doc with shaky camera movements, but it worked for you, as much as I can remember. So, overall, I agree that not all FF movies work, but there are MANY of them that really work! :) Good point though. :)

Melissa Bradley said...

I know you're not trying to convince me, and maybe I don't give it enough of a chance. However, after sitting through the utterly dreadful Paranormal Activity 1&2, Grave Encounters and Cloverfield, [REC], while great, cannot make up for my wasted time with the other films. But, shoot me an email of your faves and I will watch them to get a better perspective. :)

Nebular said...

You hated Cloverfield? Really? I thought it was absolutely fantastic. Hon, you should wait for Halloween day to see my faves, because I've prepared a themed list for that day. If you're not patient, I can send those titles to you right away. :)

DWei said...

I'll pass. There's a reason why I don't watch horror movies even if they are kind of over-the-top.

Nebular said...

DWei, it wasn't that over-the-top, only the last 10-15 min. If you're not a fan of moc-doc, you'd better skip this one. :)

Ricky said...

Hmmm...maybe if I was having a few beers.

Nebular said...

Ricky, LOL! You're funny! :)

Maynard Morrissey said...

Just watched it and enjoyed it about as much as you did.

Nebular said...

Harry, glad to hear that. It was decent, but the final act killed it in my opinion.