Saturday, 24 September 2011

Grave Encounters (2011)

Another entry in the increasingly popular mockumentary/found footage subgenre of films, Grave Encounters is an enjoyable and entertaining effort from “The Vicious Brothers” that ultimately starts to lose steam quickly when things become nothing more than one jump scare after another.

The premise is fantastic. ‘Grave Encounters’ is a mainstream, safe TV show in which the presenters turn up to investigate haunted places and try to pick up on any psychic vibes they may stumble across. Yep, it’s a ‘Most Haunted’ kind of show. Things start to take a turn for the genuinely spooky when host Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) and the rest of the team lock themselves in Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital for the night. The important thing is to keep the cameras rolling to pick up the good stuff. Until it becomes clear that the important thing is to somehow survive the night and make it out alive.

This movie has three big plus points going for it. First of all, the concept is great and actually lends plausibility to the fact that cameras would still be rolling in this type of situation. Secondly, the jump scares ARE good. It’s just a shame that the movie becomes nothing more than a series of them. Thirdly, the acting from everyone concerned is just fine. Sean Rogerson is believable enough as the cynical, fed-up host who enjoys the thought of something actually being caught on tape for the show and then eventually just wants to get the hell out. Mackenzie Gray is amusing as “psychic” Houston Gray, especially in the early scenes showing just how he comes about his astonishing information. Juan Riedinger (as tech guy, Matt), Ashleigh Gryzko (Sasha the supernatural “expert”) and Merwin Mondesir (as cameraman T.C.) make up the quintet and do okay, though they’re somewhat hampered by the script.

This is a very enjoyable, and at times accomplished, debut from The Vicious Brothers but there’s no denying the numerous flaws that drag the movie down to something that just manages to stay above average. A poor ending doesn’t help and it’s a shame that something that had so much potential is instead a wasted opportunity. I certainly recommend it, regardless, to those wanting a few frights with the lights off.

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