Tuesday, August 23, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'Grave Encounters'

Hoooo boy, another 'found footage' movie! I know that's what you're saying right about now. However, before you jump to the usual conclusions, let me tell you a little bit about 'Grave Encounters'. First of all, it's got a bit more going for it than the average 'found footage' movie. The Vicious Brothers, who wrote and directed this, took their time to get some nasty special effects going on. Instead of relying on sound and things that aren't there, these two show you EXACTLY what you're facing. These ghosts are creepy and scary. When they turn on the 'BOO!' factor, it's on full blast! Secondly, they've taken a new twist on an old theme. What we have is a movie based on all those 'ghost hunting' reality shows that are out there right now. But in this movie, they say that 'Grave Encounters (the show) was way ahead of its time. You see a lot of behind the scenes stuff that probably happens on the real shows, but we never get to see it. That alone makes this movie fun to watch.

Here's the basic plot from Netflix.com: "In this horror flick, the stars of a paranormal-investigation TV show spend the night in a derelict psychiatric hospital, hoping to uncover what's been going bump in the night. As their cameras roll, they find themselves trapped -- and hunted." The last sentences there is what really sets this apart in the end. In the beginning, it feels like very familiar territory. Low budget scares and night vision shots or things moving or opening and closing. In the second act, things change. Suddenly, the TV crew realizes that everything has changed in the building and it seems that the building is not going to let them get out.... alive. Everything keeps shifting and moving so they can't ever find an exit. The crew goes round and round for, literally, days trying to get out. In the end, will anyone make it out alive? You have to see it to belive what happens. (That last part is showmanship, the ending is kind lame actually.)I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. It's by far, NOT the best movie in this sub-sub-genre.... but it's a whole lot better than most. It kind of makes me wonder what The Vicious Brothers have next on their plate? I can honestly say that I'm anxious to see whatever else they put out in the future. This was a strong indie movie that shows great promise. I couldn't see myself giving it more than 3 stars. The ending was so poorly thought out, that it almost seemed like an afterthought. However, don't let that distract you from the good things in this movie.... like the scares. This felt like a new movie to me in a very saturated market. You all may have already seen the commercial or the YouTube.com trailer for 'Grave Encounters'. It gives away a few of the high points in the movie, but there is so much more than that.

'Found footage' is never going to go away and I feel that over time, it's going to become more and more common. These kind of movies are cheap and make a profit, it's the indie zombie movie of this next generation of film makers. Whereas, you can find 1,000 indie zombie films to watch because every first film maker wants to start that way. Now, it's the found footage movies that are taking their place. Is that a good thing? That remains to be seen. This movie gives me hope, as there are glimmers of hope sprinkled throughout.

If you like this, check out similar titles like, 'Paranormal Activity', 'Paranormal Activity 2', and 'Paranormal Entity'

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