Grave Encounters, Madmen in Mascara
Grave Encounters has accomplished something that I haven’t ever seen done in a horror movie: Self-insert cliché-heavy irony. It’s a movie about a movie that claims to be real whilst engaging in a multitude of horror clichés, namely mostly night-time, haunted asylums, and shit jumping out of the walls and yelling at the camera. I’d give a sarcastic tip of my hat to the facial effects used for scares, but the setting wound up making Grave Encounters a fun watch! I wouldn’t watch it again unless I was bored stupid, but nevertheless, it’s tip-top on my list of throwaway scary movies.
They start the movie out by having a character tell you that everything in the movie in the movie is real. Of course, him being in the movie means that the movie in the movie is real only in the movie-universe, so they don’t actually want you to believe that Grave Encounters is an actual documentary gone awry. If you mentally queued an Inception joke, kindly shut your computer down and climb into your dishwasher.
The general idea is that the crew of Grave Encounters investigates an abandoned asylum in order to theatrically hunt for ghosts and then actually find some. If done in a different way, perhaps more simply, I would have branded this flick a steaming pile o’ poop. The aspect that really kept my interest was the inescapable nature of the asylum. I’ll avoid spoiling anything, but suffice it to say that their attempt at breaking down the main doors in order to escape will probably blow your mind at least a little.
If I had to boil everything down to straight ratings, they would be as follows:
- Characters – 4/10, horror movie wallpaper.
- Setting – 10/10, inescapable asylum. Yes indeed.
- Eerie Factor – 6/10, lots of hallways and noises and tension.
- Jump Factor – 8/10, you know it’s coming. And then it does.
- Effects – 3/10, only points coming from the ghost movement crap.
- Sequel – 2/1 in quantity, not quality; should’ve stopped.
Hell, I’m pretty bad at numeric ratings. I prefer adjectives. The adjective that comes to mind when thinking of Grave Encounters is “almost good.” I like what they did with their scare-floor, but it isn’t new territory overall. Good laughs in the beginning, though, despite the Herman Munster looking guy’s corn. So should you see it? Yeah, it’s worth a shot. Admittedly, it will be a once-off, but that’s one shot put to good use!
Steve Pulaski of Letterboxd took a shine to Grave Encounters, appreciating the lack of satire surrounding paranormal TV shows, which in this instance means the characters don’t say, “It’s actually real!” over and over again until you fire back with, “YEAH WE GET IT.” I’m glad I haven’t come across to many of those movies, or if I have, I’m glad I don’t remember them at all. Check out the review here: http://letterboxd.com/stevepulaski/film/grave-encounters/