31 Days Of Horror: “Grave Encounters”



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Posted October 3, 2017 by

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Found footage… the most overdone, played out, almost-guaranteed-to-suck sub-genre in horror. What started as a pretty brilliant idea, has become something that nearly all fans of horror roll their eyes at. But, even in 2017, it can be done right from time to time and when it is it yields some pretty fun results. Back in 2011, The Vicious Brothers (Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz) made one of the better found footage fright flicks of the 21st century. Panned by critics, but loved by horror fans “Grave Encounters” still stands as a testament to what found footage can be in the right hands. Making a found footage movie about a “Ghost Hunters” type television show, investigating a haunted asylum sounds like a cocktail of overused horror cliches, but “Grave Encounters” is much better than one would expect going in.

The titular show in “Grave Encounters” is one we’ve seen a hundred times on cable television. A small crew, led by host Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson), make their way into haunted locales, tell some creepy local stories about the house, castle, or in this case asylum, and bring on some “Experts” to talk about how there are spirits afoot and an abundance of dark, ominous energy surrounding the location.

Preston is arrogant and sarcastic (so like most television hosts) and focuses more energy on the fake setup than to what might actually be lurking in a sanitarium that claimed the lives of a reported 8,000 patients. With the help of his stage actor friend Houston Gray (Mackenzie Gray), he walks around the asylum looking at each room, announcing the “Creepiness” of the place to the camera. When they lock themselves in for the night, though, things start to go bump and the crew find themselves succumbing to the insanity of the patients that came before them.

What “Grave Encounters” does right is that it stays away from many mistakes made in other found footage efforts. Instead of having you just kind of hang out with the protagonists for an hour while they joke around and talk about their day-to-day lives, “Grave Encounters” gets to the good stuff quickly and then amps it up from there. Also, being a movie about a television show, the script is much better than most in the sub-genre. There are no filler scenes of the crew just whining and yelling random “Fuck”s and “Shit”s at each other. Each scene adds to the story and its tension, and the movie benefits greatly form that.

I understand if, even after reading this somewhat glowing review, you say “Nah… I hate found footage movies.”. If you can find it in your heart, though, to look past your understandable disdain for the horrible found footage flicks you’ve suffered through in the past, you should check out “Grave Encounters”, It is a great pick for your scary movie watching this October.




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