Grave Encounters 2 Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Metrodome Distribution
Directed by The Vicious Brothers
Written by John Poliquin
2012, 95 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 4th February 2013
Richard Harmon as Alex Wright
Dylan Playfair as Trevor Thompson
Stephanie Benett as Tessa Hamill
Howie Lai as Jared Lee
Leanne Lapp as Jennifer Parker
Shawn C. Phillips as Vlogger
We've all got that one exceptionally stupid friend who believes that Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project or old War of the Worlds radio show was a documentary. An old colleague of mine was convinced that The Fourth Kind was totally a real thing. Film student Alex Wright is one of those stupid people. The former film reviewer turned filmmaker becomes convinced that the found footage movie Grave Encounters is entirely real, and assembles a film crew of his own at the abandoned mental hospital where its events took place. It's kind of a lose/lose situation: if it's not real, you've wasted a bunch of time, effort and money filming in a dirty old hospital. If it is real, you're about to be violently murdered by angry ghosts. Well done though.
To be fair though, Alex does take some convincing. Introduced to us via a YouTube diatribe where he gives the horror film Grave Encounters a very mediocre score, he only realises that there might be some truth to the film when a mysterious commenter drops him such a hint. The kid's lucky – the only comments I ever get on my own reviews are either spam, abusive, abusive spam or the local troll who keeps talking about how he wants to bugger eighteen year old actresses up the bum. Charmed. Alex attempts to track down the film's director and stars, and eventually finds himself filming a documentary in a dilapidated old mental hospital. Admirably, he manages to accomplish all of this without boring the hell out of his friends and acquaintances with begging e-mails scrounging for money on Kickstarter.
The story takes a similar tack to The Human Centipede 2 – acknowledging that its predecessor is a real movie which exists in our own world. The advantage that Grave Encounters 2 has is that the found-footage subgenre lends itself quite well to a meta approach. Quite how that film got a distribution deal and came to be released on mainstream DVD in the first place is never explained, but that's a minor gripe. The found footage subgenre is inherently flawed anyway.
Like its predecessor, Grave Encounters 2 starts off slow but has a good payoff. The ghosts are never entirely convincing, but there's a cute moment in which one of the characters acknowledges this. Beyond the gimmick, it's exactly the same story as the first one. I would still rather watch this than a Paranormal Activity sequel though, as its poltergeist shenanigans do have a very angry punk charm to them. It's just a shame that we have to wade through Alex's boring opinions to get there. He's a film critic who says that modern horror movies suck – how very original and constructive. I mean, a lot of modern horror movies do suck, but whiny college kids with YouTube channels suck more. The best bit in the film is when Alex attempts to make a horror film himself and it winds up looking worse than the very movies he criticises. We've all been there.
Despite some nice ideas behind it, Grave Encounters 2 is a disappointment. Its characters are obnoxious and awful, the execution not as inventive or scary as its predecessor. It's slightly better than most found footage films, but in the wake of such work as V/H/S and Troll Hunter, that just won't cut it any more. Real or not, Grave Encounters 2 is not a great film.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.