I remember when this first came out, I was somewhat under whelmed with found footage films and shaky handheld camera SOV flicks. I think, in the couple of years that have past, I have become more accepting of them and see them as another style of film making in the field of cinema. When they are done right, found-footage films can offer an immediacy and intimacy that makes them feel genuine. When they’re done wrong, they just seem like a mess and act as a crutch for not having a good script.
So, now that I got Netflix, (yes congrats are in order), I felt I could try out this movie and I wouldn’t mind shutting it off in a half-hour if it proved to be anything less than enjoyable. I wouldn’t feel like I had wasted my money. I must say, to my surprise, I enjoyed Grave Encounters quite a bit.
A team of ghost investigators enter an abandoned mental institution for a night of EVPs, EMFs, and ghost chasing. If any of you are familiar with, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, and Most Haunted – shows that have been airing the last 10 years or so, you should know the routine. This one follows most closely to Ghost Adventures and the show host, Lance, even seems to get most of his cues and mannerisms from the real show host, Zakk Bagans.
The small crew journeys through the asylum with little results for their efforts. Lance even mentions that they should shoot some footage of the dark hallways just to get something spooky looking for the show. Just when they are about to pack it in, they begin to get some real signs of paranormal activity. From there the film successfully ramps up the suspense as the ghostly events escalate to a frightening level.
Without being a spoiler, let me just say there are a few things in this film that I have never seen done before and must commend the film makers for their original ideas and concepts. The scene with the tub and the scene where they finally break through the front door to leave were awesome. The only drawback would be, it takes a bit of time for the good scary stuff to develop. But if you have some patience, the film definitely pays off. I would give this film a very high rating, close to Rec in my favorite found-footage film category. Great atmosphere, great haunted place feel, exceptional acting, jump scares, creepy tension, it has it all.
If you are accepting of the found-footage style and if you like haunted house/ghost stories – or if you’re a fan of the above mentioned ghost investigation programs, I would highly recommend Grave Encounters.