Saturday, October 17, 2015

Frightful Features - Grave Encounters (2011)

Directed by the Vicious Brothers, Grave Encounters is a pseudo-documentary horror film following the crew of a ghost-hunting television series as they film an episode. The crew consists of the show's host Lance Preston, occult specialist Sasha Parker, surveillance operator Matt White, cameraman T.C. Gibson, and fraudulent medium Houston Gray.

Hoping to create an entertaining episode, the crew decides to lock themselves within Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, an abandoned asylum with a very long history of paranormal activity. However, as soon as the sun sets and night falls, strange things begin to happen within the walls of this eerie building. Are these "investigators" going mad? What's lurking within the dark halls of Collingwood? Will they managed to survive until morning? Stay tuned after the commercial break to find out...

Normally, I'm not the biggest fan of the "Found Footage" subgenre of horror films. There are a small handful that I enjoy, but the majority are either atrocious or would be better off being shot more traditionally.

Luckily, Grave Encounters is one of the few that I actually like. I like the concept of a group of people who are basically frauds being confronted with genuine, paranormal activity/ The movie also gets bonus points for offering a situation that explains why they're keeping the cameras rolling instead of just tossing them or turning them off. Well, an excuse that makes suspending your disbelief much easier at least.

Grave Encounters also does a great job at building a very creepy environment that feels like something out of a Call of Cthulhu adventure, especially when the surroundings start screwing with the crew's sanity and their growing madness begins to take over. At times, the film gives me the same eeriness that Jacob's Ladder gave me the first time I saw it, watching the world within the film slowly fall apart and the characters spiraling into insanity.

While the film has its stumbling blocks, mostly with the haphazard pacing and the characters can come off as a little flat at times (especially at the beginning), the situation is intriguing and the weird nature of the horror is cool enough for me to feel comfortable recommending it for at least one viewing. Check it out. I dug it and you might too.

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