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Lance Preston and the crew of Grave Encounters, a ghost-hunting reality television show, are shooting an episode inside the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, where unexplained phenomena has been reported for years. On a quest to expose the truth, the crew voluntarily lock themselves inside the building for the night and begins a paranormal investigation, capturing everything on camera. They quickly find themselves lost in a labyrinth of endless hallways and corridors, terrorized by the ghosts of the former patients. Soon they realize that the building is more than just haunted. It s alive, and it has no intention of ever letting them leave.
- An Interview with the Vicious Brothers and Producer Shawn Angelski Presented by American Express
- Making of Grave Encounters
It s Paranormal Activity on steroids, and perhaps the bravest of the found footage genre, one that counts The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield among its best... One of the scariest, most memorable films of 2011. --NY Press
To say that GRAVE ENCOUNTERS is terrifying is a slight understatement. I'd say my breathing was short and shallow for about one hour straight. --Quiet Earth
Top Customer Reviews
What sets GRAVE ENCOUNTERS apart is that the usually annoying jerky camera shots aren't overused and actually heighten the suspense. AND things actually HAPPEN instead of being covertly implied. This movie outshines the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchises or any of television's "reality" paranormal series.
Sean Rogerson (TV's HARPERS ISLAND) is quite effective as Lance Preston, the show's egocentric host.
Stylish and disturbing, GRAVE ENCOUNTERS sets a new standard in this genre's milieu.
Anyway, once you got out of the corniness, the movie really took you into the haunted bowels of the abandoned mental asylum. For the reminder of the time, the movie had me on edge to be honest right to the very end. Not many movies can do that to me but this one did. I highly recommend it for anyone fond of paranormal type movies without the gory, slasher details. Enjoy guys!
The secret? Multiple cameras, decent actors, mostly likable characters, and a distinct style that steps away from enough of the usual horror trappings to be unique.
I won't spoil much of the story and scares to be had beyond what you can see in five-minutes but suffice it to say one of the films strengths comes from its setting, a group of paranormal investigators "investigating". Some people note the beginning of the film as a weakness but I disagree as I felt it built up the characters just enough to care, without being overly long. And at the same time provided the backdrop for giving us the many fixed cameras, and orienting ourselves with who was carrying which mobile camera so that when the action started we aren't confused. Additionally all these cameras mean that we rarely get the "shakey cam" the genre is so well known for. Eventually things go REALLY wrong and this is again to the films unique credit, unlike a movie like Paranormal Activity the bumps in the night only last about ten minutes in this film, then you're treated to a full-on paranormal experience filled with malice and terror.
Beyond this there truly isn't that much story, settling for focusing on the characters descent into this hellscape and though it will depend on your opinion I did not find this a negative. Often a film can lose its horror if the story becomes overwrought or is simply bad, the directors of Grave Encounters realized this and don't give a lot of answers except for a few excerpts throughout, and one (glaringly bad to be honest) scene at the end. This allows them to instead focus on the increasingly fearful characters, most of who are acted with enough skill to make this a valid tactic.
Some of the actors are distinctly better than others but none of them are outright bad, with even the worst settling somewhere at average. The same could be said for the characters which is a massive boon for the film. The lead is legitimately believable as a host for a show and as a man scared out of his wits later on, as is the only female character even if her screams become a bit tedious even if they are warranted, the rest of the characters fall below them but a supposed psychic for the show gets special-credit for being distinctly non-psychic when the cameras stop rolling. The only lackluster character is one of the cameramen who moves further into denial the longer the film goes on, while a reasonable emotion to feel they could definitely have expressed this in a better way than yelling, "THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!" five-hundred times. He's definitely the movies one great and prevalent weakness. A nod goes to the "guests" for the show before they lock themselves in for the night that do a good job of locals unused to and slightly nervous in front of the camera.
Filled with tension, both from legitimate ambiance and jump-scares the film Grave Encounters is not to be missed. It will never get the attention it deserves but this is a textbook example of how one should do a found-footage film, and I most definitely suggest you watch it.
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