GRAVE ENCOUNTERS (2011)
Grave Encounters adds nothing new to the found footage or horror genres, but ‘The Vicious Brothers’ know their source material and have a lot of fun with it.
The story involves the found footage of the last known episode of a Ghost Adventures like paranormal show investigating a notoriously haunted abandoned asylum. As we watch the footage unfold we find that the team of phonies got far more then they bargained for as the supernatural entities in the asylum turned out to be all too real and far from friendly ghosts.
Sure this flick evokes Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch often, but writer/directors The Vicious Brothers (Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz) takes the familiar ball and run with it. When it’s apparent this crew is more shysters then spook hunters, the film gets very giddy with putting them through a sinister, supernatural funhouse and takes you along for the ride if you let it. Sure you’ve seen it all before, but if you just go with it and enjoy the ride, Grave Encounters can be a lot of spooky fun as you watch our trapped paranormal team descend into madness from the safety of your couch. The found footage format is used well and the filmmakers achieve some very unsettling and creepy FX once things really get spooky and the flick does have some very creepy set-pieces and presents them very effectively.
The cast of unknowns featuring Sean Rogerson as team leader Lance Preston, Matt White as a hammy occult expert, Merwin Mondesir as camera man T.C. and Ashleigh Gryzko as investigator Sasha, all play their roles very convincingly and have a little fun with their faux paranormal team as well. Sure, we know this is just a movie, but the cast help us suspend our disbelief enough to enjoy the proceedings as we were witnessing a real paranormal investigation show out of control… and it’s fun.
So while Grave Encounters is not a very original flick, it is a fun time nonetheless and fulfills the fantasy of watching a TV spook hunter show encounter something far more then they can handle with us as the captive audience. And who wouldn’t want to see that? Also stars Ben Wilkinson as Jerry Hartfield, the producer of the Grave Encounters show who presents the found footage to us.