Grave Encounters – Found Footage Done Right! T Minus 10 Days!

There are two types of film that have been severely lacking in quality, especially recently.  Those types are “horror” & “found footage” movies.

They style originally made famous by the Blair Witch Project was an innovative twist on film-making and at the time it was a pretty original idea.  People, myself included, give the Blair With a snobbish stare when you measure it up against the icons of the horror genre.  Taking away the condescending attitude towards the film it would be impossible to not give credit where credit is due that they launch a new sub genre of film.

Found Footage is a blessing and curse at the same. It brings a new way of bringing stories to life and more important for the film makers because it allows to create with a very minimal budget.  All you really need for a found footage film is a handy cam and an average powered computer for editing.  I enjoy this in theory, but unfortunately this also means that every hack with a camera and a bad idea is able to make a full length movie these days. There are so many examples of this technique done wrong but it’s the Halloween season and I want to focus on the good.

This brings us to “Grave Encounters.”  I will channel my inner hipster here by saying that I found this movie when it was a brand new release and the trailer got me excited.  It’s a movie that was able to legitimately keep my attention and did a pretty above average job giving the creepy atmosphere and the heart-wrenching suspense intertwined with a few decent jump scares.

Grave Encounters is a reality TV show that was in production back in 2003.  It’s host Lance Preston and his team of ghost trackers would go into haunted locations to try to make contact with the paranormal.  For their 6th episode they selected an asylum.  They never did return from this shoot.  The movie is the raw footage they captured, only edited for time but not doctored in any other way.

It begins the first act by essentially making a parody of the ghost hunting reality shows that are actually airing these days, before descending into madness of well thought out scares and eerie  situations.  My only complaint is that there are times when they do go a little over the top but all in all it was a very well done found footage popcorn flick.

…. Last night after finishing my SlenderMan post I sat through the recently released, “Grave Encounters 2”  the meta-documentary-horror film.  This movie has giving me hope that the Grave Encounters idea has the potential to become a full-blown series with maybe even a third installment… wait a minute, maybe I should check to see if that’s a plan already or not?

*Pause for quick google search*

Okay yeah, as far as I could find there is no talks yet of a Grave Encounters 3, but Vicious Brothers I really hope you get on that.

Anyway, I digress.

Grave Encounters 2 opens with a montage of interview video reviewers talking about the original movie, ending with a review from this films umm.. I guess you could call him a protagonist but really I stretch that word because although the film does centralize around him he really is one of the most unlikely horror characters I’ve encountered (pardon the pun) in a long time.

Alex gets a video response to his review of Grave Encounters from a user named “Death Awaits.”  This is a throwback to the original movie because that is what is spray painted on the door as they enter the asylum.  This snowballs into a conspiracy that Grave Encounters really happened.  Becoming obsessed with this idea which leads him and his film school friends to embark on a journey to the actual asylum where the movie was filmed.

The sequel follows all the rules.. it’s bigger, more intense, and yet has facets of the original to tie it together.  It’s a treat to return to the bathtub room, or the room with the window that opens by itself, but then they do something new and turn it up a notch.  The plot gets a little more in-depth than one would expect from what was essentially a very good, stand-alone, popcorn flick back in 2009.

They tied a complicated, yet remarkably interesting story together here.  I dare not spoil anything but I do want to mention the ending.  The ending is something I am very proud of, since the Vicious Brothers managed to have a found footage film where there was actual thought put into the ending.  It was not a movie where all the characters just died off one by one and ended with the death of the last character.. the ending is essentially the reason I wanted to write about it and why it became my third post on my Halloween countdown.

There WILL be more time put into to discussing both of these films and it will be posted on NoTearsPlease.com so stay tuned for that.  In thea meantime, tomorrow I hope to have something more Halloween and less horror since there really is more to Halloween than just the horror genre that I hold dear.

Cheers!

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