Hey folks, Valkor. And welcome to "TOV's 15 films of Horror". Nah I'm just kidding, we're way too early for that. Besides this next film wouldn't even place in the top 15! While some folks out there might find The Vicious Brother's film "Grave Encounters" scary, I find it as another way to cure insomnia. Read on.
Grave Encounters is one of those "found films" along the lines of The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity. In this film a group of paranormal investigators enter a haunted asylum called the "Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital" to film their 6th episode of their reality show called "Grave Encounters". The team, lead by Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) and his crew Sasha Parker (Ashleigh Gryzko), T.C. Gibson (Merwin Mondesir), Matt White (Juan Riedinger), and even a psychic named Houston Gray (Mackenzie Gray) lock themselves in the asylum and attempt to capture any "paranormal activity" within the halls (see what I did there?). At first things are quiet, but it certainly doesn't stay that way. Bit by bit the ghost start to make their presence known. And when the team tries to break out of the asylum, they soon realize they can never leave… at least not alive anyway.
My face when they raced up the stairs towards the rooftop in an attempt to escape the asylum, only to find the exit walled up:
And now on with the TOV Breakdown.
Grave Encounters has a few positives going for it; first, the look of the film, the blend of night vision with the flashlight in an otherwise creepy abandoned building, looks amazing. The green of the night vision adds a level of creepy that enhances the scares when the ghosts make their appearance.
And speaking of ghost, the ones in this film are scary to look at. Nice job with the mouth stretching bitch in the corner, the hands that reach out of the ceiling and walls, or the one creepy dude who bit off his tongue and attacks from the ceiling. Kudos!
And here's where we start to dip. First the acting – it's way over the top. Right from the jump the actors come off a bit too smug for my taste, especially the Lance character. Ashleigh's Sasha screams way too much for my taste, even when the scene doesn't really need it - Oh you see your friend/colleague Matt walk by oh hey let me SCREAM AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS FOR NO REASON (For the record Matt had gone missing and just showed up out of nowhere). And T.C., don't get me started on T.C. all that bitchin and moaning about wanting to leave and gotta get home, yadda yadda, got annoying real fast! The film itself isn't remotely scary, though some, especially you Paranormal Activity fans, might find something to jump at, especially when the ghost do that mouth stretchy thing. There's lots of shaky cam, which I think is overdone. And there's a lot of unnecessary "up close and personal" zooms. Finally, Grave Encounters just isn't all that scary. What took me out of the film was with the opening set up where the guy states the film is "absolutely real". I would have cut that part out and used text… creepy white text, with a black background and some eerie music… yea!
Lance eating the fake rat. It's not the act of him eating the fake rat, it's how he first kills it (with a metal stick and it goes splat) and then proceeds to eat what is obviously a rubber rat. I didn't expect him to eat a real rat, but the scene is disgusting.
You want a real scare? Might I suggest "Lake Mungo". You want to be terrified and disgusted beyond belief? Check out Grotesque. But if you're looking for a film with great visuals, but minimal scares, and a fast way to a long nap, then yea give Grave Encounters a run through. Otherwise steer clear. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give Grave Encounters a 1.5. I hear this film called, uh… "Insidious" is quite scary…. Must look into it.