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Grave Encounters

Grave EncountersA review by C J Dee
  • Director: The Vicious Brothers
  • Starring: Sean Rogerson, Ashleigh Gryzko, Mackenzie Gray, Merwin Mondesir, Juan Riedinger
  • Other notable appearances: Ben Wilkinson
  • Running time: 92 minutes
  • Watch this if you liked: Paranormal Activity, Blair Witch Project, Chronicle
  • Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 2/5

The Grave Encounters team are paranormal investigators who are filming the sixth episode of their television program at the defunct Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital. The crew go in with questions and are met with answers that will challenge their survival.

I have a bit of an issue with found footage films and so I don’t watch many of them. The issue is that generally when you’re watching a horror movie, you get a build up. You know something is about to happen. You may even know what is about to happen. BAM! It happens. You move on having felt suspense, a fright and then release of the tension you built while the suspense rose.

When you’re watching a found footage film the suspense builds. You know something is about to happen. Then it doesn’t happen. By the third or fourth time this happens the adrenaline is high and, when something does finally happen, it is either a huge let down or causes an overreaction. All of the action is at maximum within the last 20 minutes. Grave Encounters is no exception.

Another issue with found footage films? No rewatchability factor. The stories are flimsy more often than not. Once you’ve seen the ending, chances are that you won’t be rushing out to buy the DVD. Again, Grave Encounters is no exception.

The haunted mental asylum story. Oh, geez. These are either brilliant or ridiculous. In the case of Grave Encounters it started out decently enough with the asylum driving the crew insane by blocking exits; leaving them in eternal darkness; and rotting their food supplies after only a few hours. But it descended into the ridiculous in the last five minutes of the film causing the build-up to lose any credibility it had earned.

So why does Grave Encounters get two stars if I can spend three paragraphs complaining about it? Technically the first two were issues I have with the genre as a whole. However, as a found footage film Grave Encounters does what they do and it does it well. The portrayal of realism intended is delivered and only undermined by the character of Jerry Hartfield. Jerry spends the first few minutes of the movie almost begging you to believe that this really, REALLY and truly happened.

I would recommend Grave Encounters to fans of the found footage horror film genre or horror fans who enjoy a film with a long build-up and very little in the way of actual scares.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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