Grave Encounters (15)
Directed by: The Vicious Brothers
Starring: Sean Rogerson, Juan Riedinger and Ashleigh Gryzko
Running time: 92mins
For their ghost hunting reality show, a production crew locks themselves inside an abandoned mental hospital that’s supposedly haunted – and it might prove to be all too true.
very now and then you see a DVD in the clearance sales and think it might be worth a look. I became aware of Grave Encounters last year when I saw the trailer on youTube but although it looked interesting, it just seemed to be like any other movie desperate to echo the success of Blair Witch by using the now tried and tested real life footage genre to scare the pants off the viewer.
Written and directed by the Vicious brothers, this sees a new Ghost Hunters type show called Grave Encounters which never went beyond episode six. The television company have decided to release this lost episode which will explain once and for all why the show never went any further.
So cue the paranormal team which investigates an abandoned asylum that has plenty of ghost stories about it. They are locked in by the caretaker who will return at six o’clock in the morning to let them out. Ah, if only it were that simple. We have the crew, the charismatic host that OTTs everything, the sound man, the cameraman with family issues, the psychic who is in fact an actor employed to add to the scary atmosphere and the plucky female investigator. For the first part of the movie it’s pretty much the standard fare; nothing happens but the silence is made more dramatic by the crew’s reactions to build up the audience tension for the show. It’s nothing out of the ordinary and it’s not adverse to taking the mick out of the likes of Paranormal State and Ghost Hunters right down to the failed EVP sessions and sitting in a dark room talking to thin air.
Here the movie hits all the right spots. And as a viewer I was in the same mode, chuckling inwardly about how the real life shows do exactly that. Dramatic music, weird noises and close ups of the hosts when there’s actually nothing much going on at all. And then all hell breaks loose.
A bed is hurled into the air and doors begin to slam. Problem is the caretaker doesn’t return to let them out. They are trapped and filming every last second because someone will come and save them- won’t they?
It is rare a movie scares the life out of me but Grave Encounters did it in abundance. There are nods to Blair Witch as the asylum becomes a maze where all doors lead to nowhere and an exit sign takes on a whole new meaning. Laughs in the dark, scratches on their backs, disappearing crew, warnings on the walls; the pace never lets up. But the moment when they come across a woman in a gown standing facing into a corner ala the end of Bair Witch, it is in the trailer but as part of the movie it’s electrifying. The asylum has them and it doesn’t want to let them go.
Horror movies are a love of mine and I can count on one hand the ones that scare me. With Grave Encounters, I now have to use my second hand. Superb. Find it and buy it. A movie that will stay with you after it’s over. What more do you want for a fiver?