Grave Encounters came on the heels of Paranormal Activity (well at least one of the sequels) with little fanfare and surprised many by being a pretty good imitation, actually better than any of the PA sequels and the numerous other pretenders.
A sequel was inevitable. This film only proves it very unwise.
Young film student Alex is going to reinvent horror, a genre he feels has become staid and predictable. His roommate isn’t so ambitious, unless you count wanting to smoke a joint and drink a beer having a career path.
Alex is fixated by the film Grave Encounters (how meta!), which proves that he is reinventing the genre from the bottom up. Alex has investigated and analysed the film and is convinced it isn’t real, though he cannot track down any of the actors or filmmakers.
Then he suddenly changes his tune when he starts corresponding with an anonymous source online, deciding that the only way to be sure is to go to the original location and check things out for himself.
This is how Alex and the other 4 randoms end up in the deserted psychiatric hospital. The script has characters name checking several so called ‘peers’ of the original film, then proceeds to rip off both it and several others, most notably Rec: 2.
Unlike Rec: 2, this film used up all of its good ideas in part 1.
I liked precisely two bits of this film, the ten seconds either side of the image on the cover, and a moment where the facility won’t let the kids leave – despite the fact that they did leave hours before…
With such transparent mimicry and a paucity of new creative elements, Grave Encounters was up against it from the start. It also doesn’t help that none of the five kids are particularly memorable.
The new things don’t work, the old things aren’t a surprise nor are they effective. The only thing that does work is the sound, which works primarily because of volume to compensate for the lack of efficiency onscreen.
Final Rating – 5 / 10. This is one depressing encounter too far.