Oct 15, 2014

Review: Grave Encounters 2 (2012)

The first Grave Encounters isn't the greatest horror movie ever but it had enough for me to like it personally. The biggest problem with it in my opinion was giving a physical appearance to the paranormal activity going on inside the insane asylum instead of keeping everything in the mind of the viewer. Oh, that and the pretty poor CGI. What happened was that the scares started getting less effective the more the film went on.

That's definitely something of concern for a sequel. If the scares were already getting a bit stale, what are the scares going to be like in Grave Encounters 2? The Vicious Brothers move on from directing to only writing the script which is another point of concern. This is John Poliquin's first real directing job so I guess we'll just see what he can do.

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Genre: horror
Directed by: John Poliquin
Produced by: Shawn Angelski, Martin Fisher, Arni Johannson, etc.
Written by: The Vicious Brothers (Colin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz)
Music by: Quynne Alana Paxa
Running time: 95 minutes
Production company: Death Awaits Cinema, Twin Engine Films, Pink Buffalo Films
Distributed by: Tribeca Film, Alfa Films, Manfer Films
Country: Canada, United States
Language: English
Budget: $1,400,000
Box office: $8,211,000 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Richard Harmon, Leanne Lapp, Sean Rogerson, Dylan Playfair, Stephanie Bennett, Howard Lai, Sean Tyson, Ben Wilkinson, Arthur Corber, Brenda McDonald, Collin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz
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Synopsis


Alex Wright (Richard Harmon) is a movie vlogger in college who does a review for the movie Grave Encounters. He thinks it's an awful movie but starts doing a bit of research into it. He finds some things that don't add up such as all the cast being missing. Original producer Jerry Hartfield (Ben Wilkinson) confesses that the movie is actually real, which then prompts Alex and his friends to go to the real asylum from Grave Encounters and investigate what really happened.

Review


Grave Encounters 2 leaves the goofy reality TV show angle to the side and replaces it with a healthy dose of teenagers in college being dumb and annoying. For sure you don't want to just make the same movie again for a sequel, but GE2 is a different feeling movie in a really, really bad way. The whole college thing is how the first forty minutes are anyway. That's also how long it takes before things actually get a bit interesting.

One of the most annoying things about this first section of the film is when scenes from the original Grave Encounters are shown with the volume turned way up and make you jump out of your skin. As jump scares they certainly make you jump, but man is it ever a cheap tactic. High volume characterizes a lot of the scares in Grave Encounters 2 too which gets old quick.

Grave Encounters 2 dedicates some of the first forty minutes to Alex Wright's quest in proving that Grave Encounters is real and not just a staged movie. Even with a half a brain you'll be able to see that the way in which it's done is so incredibly underdeveloped. Cutting out Alex's "research" and just going directly to his meeting with the producer would've been better and also would've reduced what is a boring and frustrating beginning.

Besides questioning the intelligence of our main characters for being willing to go to a real haunted asylum which is most likely life threatening all the way in Canada, the formula isn't really changed at all from the first GE. There are some changes but a lot of the scares are pretty much the exact same things we've already seen already or are totally predictable. Jump scares are poorly built up and the volume reaches annoyingly high levels as I said before.

It's also hard to have any sort of sympathy for any of the characters. Besides being cardboard, they're rude and have that stereotypical teenage thing going on. What happens is that we get that slasher movie feel where you want to see the dumb teens get violently murdered. It doesn't make for a good movie and as a whole it's far from entertaining or scary.

The found footage style also suffers from some of the same problems of the first GE. Once again I seriously don't understand why the cameraman doesn't keep the camera steady during an interview with another person. Not only that, but it doesn't make sense to me that the film cuts to footage from something like a security camera. How did the person who "put" this footage together get that footage at all?

(Spoilers) There's a surprise appearance from Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson), the host from the original Grave Encounters TV show who somehow survived for nine years in the asylum. He's gone completely insane but might be able to guide our helpless college students. But wow is it tough to watch Sean Rogerson act like some kind of lunatic who talks to himself. It's a pitiful display, totally worthy of a Razzie nomination unfortunately. (End Spoilers)

There's not really much more to say about Grave Encounters 2. The first forty minutes are unbearable to watch and fail to build up anything for when the main characters finally get to the asylum. Scares are either recycled or totally predictable and have a bad habit of pumping up the volume. With unlikeable characters that make it impossible to have sympathy for them, Grave Encounters 2 has nothing to offer anyone.

Rating


3.5/10