Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review - Grave Encounters (2011)

“They were searching for proof... they found it.”

Director: The Vicious Brothers
Starring: Sean Rogerson, Juan Riedinger, Ashleigh Gryzko and Mackenzie Gray
Writer: The Vicious Brothers

I guess I should start off with the fact that I’m a huge Ghost Hunters fan. Yep that’s right I watch a reality show, and one that involves two guys running around dark places and normally scaring the crap out of each other. When I discovered a horror movie using this type of reality show as the foundation of the story I got a little excited.

Being a mock reality show means the movie is of the found footage variety. Found footage movies can be rather hit and miss with the camera becoming nauseating in its shakiness. There is also the old problem of coming up with a viable reason why people are holding onto the camera’s as stuff happens. Honestly if I was in the middle of a zombie apocalypse I would put the camera down and start a running. But Grave Encounters has come along and given us a premise where it’s logical for the camera to be filming the action.

The other problem with found footage films is the acting. As soon as you have someone who is famous it can destroy the illusion of the film; having unknown actors don’t mean it’s going to be bad, but it does put a certain strain on the movie. In this case most of the actors are okay but there is an added layer that can complicate things. Each character is portraying the normal person, and then the persona they put forth for the reality show, cause as we know reality shows are normally very separate from any reality we know.

Visually the movie stays close to the ghost reality shows, and the place where the movie was shot, was milked for all it’s worth. Scare wise we have things that play it pretty similar to Paranormal Activity. I can’t say I was tense during the movie and that’s a negative point in the film. At least I was interested in the ideas it presented. I will admit there were some effects that looked really good (mainly a moving bed), but it’s all kind of hampered by the shakiness. While I didn’t mind it, I’m sure people will be turned off.

The other problem with found footage movies is the story is normally just a situation that makes a turn for the worse. As such there isn’t really much of a character arc, and the movie can stagnate because we are just waiting for the next event to occur. The same problem occurs with this movie, there was an underlying story with the history of the place that was being investigated, and while it was interesting because it’s not fully investigated we are left with the characters that are on the screen and I needed more.

The premise is a good use of the found footage genre in horror, and I think the film makers try to make it as authentic looking as possible, but when it comes to story it’s shallow. I wasn’t scared, and was only interested when it kind of looked at the history of the haunted place. If you like found footage movies then I would say go ahead and give this movie a watch, but if not then you can just move on.

No comments:

Post a Comment