WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT
We meet Lance Preston and his crew of TV rookies who are filming a new ghost-hunting reality show called “Grave Encounters”, a show in the vein of the popular British TV show Most Haunted. We are told that the first five episodes they shot were great TV but when they got to Episode 6 and their destination the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, they were never seen again. Footage arrived back at the studio and its here we the viewer watch went on in that unaired TV Episode.. Things do not just go bump in the night, but blood, screams and death are heard throughout the vast dark corridors, where terror is all captured on the ever filming camera.
THE HUGHES VERDICT!
Sometimes I watch an horror and I get so frustrated at what I am seeing that the film just loses me and never gets me back. Writing reviews is a delicate job because when I criticise a film many may read that and believe that I am suggesting I could do a better job than the director and writer but believe me I am not. I wish I had the determination to go out there and get the finance, the equipment, the crew and a stellar cast to make a horror film and then show it to the world and I admire all these new kids on the block who are determined to make a name for themselves, so what I hate the most about reviewing films for this website is when I see one that really annoys me because I just can not gel with what is happening.
Grave Encounters is the perfect example of this feeling. Recently reviewed by Matt Wavish on the Official page who lavished the praise on this new “found-footage” horror, I sat down in hope that what I was about to see was this years new Paranormal Activity, a film that will take me to that dark place again that I love to go being such a horror fanatic. I mean how could it not? The premise is fantastic, a quite wonderful set up for this new genre that surely made my blood rise to a high level of anticipation.
We start with a talk from a Producer of a TV Station who fills us in with what we are about to see. Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) is the new kid on the block of reality TV shows. The show “Grave Encounters!” has Lance and his crew visiting all the scary places around the country that is supposed to be haunted and they spend the night where they hope to capture all things that go bump in the night on their camera. For the British readers this film is more like Most Haunted while the Americans can associate this with the MTV show Fear and for those who really watch everything horror with that quite wonderful episode of Supernatural which had Dean and Sam in this very same position! What we are told is that everything was going great with the show but when they got to episode six, something really bad happened and what we are about to see is all real even though you may not believe in what you are seeing.
The destination is an old asylum that bares a huge resemblance to that of the building in the much superior Session 9, a place where many people over the years claim is a real hotspot for ghostly figures. What I loved about the beginning of this film is the set up is wonderful. The brilliantly named Vicious Brothers really do the business in they debut directed film, because you can not help but get sucked right into what we are seeing. They also cleverly build on what many sceptics feel we get in the real programmes like Most Haunted in that the crew play to the camera with Lance the chief culprit of this. We see the lead presenter come a different person when the camera is on, a real cocky over the top personality and when he is not being filmed he just wants to make Grave Encounters the most scariest TV show around even paying the local gardner to invent a story that he has seen a ghost when originally he said he has not seen anything in all the time he worked there.
Again I have to comment on the build up because it creates a tremendous atmosphere especially when we see Matt (Juan Riedinger) setting up the cameras around the place at night. The camera being switched on to reveal dark empty corridors, spooky rooms with decay all over the walls, this is perfect material for “found-footage” and I was foaming at the mouth to see what delights would bring after the crew are locked in for the night.
crew wake up and see patient tags on their wrists, and also words cut into their skin. Its just too much for the genre and the film suffers badly.