(dir. The Vicious Brothers)
*First time viewing
Unintentionally we return to the mental hospital with Grave Encounters. Yes, it’s better than The Ward, but that’s not saying much. The film follows the crew of a paranormal reality show (think Ghost Hunters) as they explore an abandoned psychiatric hospital. But what was only supposed to consist of staged events, takes a turn when the crew become trapped in the hospital. Plagued by mistrust and ghosts, the crew slowly realize that hospital will find a way to create new patients, one way or another.
The story is pretty standard but the film has its share of cool concepts (such as the shifting corridors, and constant night despite the passage of time). The ghosts are successfully terrifying and effects-wise the movie makes good use of its minuscule budget. But the good the film does is ruined by its annoying characters and unconvincing actors. I’m not usually one to complain about acting quality in horror movies, but found footage movies’ success is largely based on the natural line delivery of its cast (whatever you think about The Blair Witch Project or the Paranormal Activity franchise it’s hard to deny that their unknown actors deliver convincing performances that add a certain credence to whatever supernatural stuff is going down). While part of the bad performances seem intentional as part of the reality show that’s being filmed, the performances never get better when reality footage stops shooting. The repetitive and stiff dialogue in Grave Encounters make the frightening situation seem cheap and mostly ruins what would otherwise be a very solid film.
Scare Factor: 2/5 Grave Encounters has some creepy moments and ideas but the creation of tension is consistently thwarted by poor dialogue and acting.
**Available to watch on Netflix Instant