Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Grave Encounters (2011) - Crazy Found Footage Horror

I watched this film expecting it to be terrible, as most found footage horrors are. I was so wrong. This film is fantastic, and is a close second in my favourite two found footage horrors, just sitting behind the Blair Witch Project. I thought the setting of it in an abandoned asylum was an exceptional idea, and obviously the film succeeded as a result. I usually don't get frightened when I watch modern horrors, however this scared the crap out of me.
I don't know if it was just to do with the fact it was in an asylum, since I'm terrified of asylums. The film receives reasonable ratings overall across the web as you see:

  • IMDB - 6.1/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - 56%
  • Meta Critic - 33%
I would definitely agree with IMDB, and would say that Rotten Tomatoes and Meta Critic are being too harsh. However, Meta Critic ratings have always been really critical.

It is directed by Colin Minihan, and Stuart Ortiz (known as the 'Vicous Brothers'), and lasts an estimate of 92 minutes. Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) and the crew of "Grave Encounters", a ghost-hunting reality television show, are shooting an episode inside the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, where unexplained phenomena have been reported for years. All in the name of good television, they voluntarily lock themselves inside the building for the night and begin a paranormal investigation, capturing everything on camera. They quickly realize that the building is more than just haunted - it is alive - and it has no intention of ever letting them leave. They find themselves lost in a labyrinth maze of endless hallways and corridors, terrorized by the ghosts of the former patients. They soon begin to question their own sanity, slipping deeper and deeper into the depths of madness, ultimately discovering the truth behind the hospital's dark past...and taping what turns out to be their final episode.

I have always believed that asylums are a perfect setting for horrors, and so I really enjoyed this film. There is a thrilling atmosphere from the beginning as Lance interviews some people to discover the history of former patients, and ghost-sighting in general. Once they lock themselves in, we realise how spooky the asylum actually as due to insufficient light. The corridors seem to be never-ending in the film, which contributes to the eerie feeling, The first time we see the ghost of a patient is when we see someone running across the hallway. Soon enough, the crew follow the ghost in to see her in the corner. This was a very intense, and scary moment for myself and so I will not ruin for those who haven't 'encountered' this moment yet. I thought the idea of the entrance to the building disappearing was very successful as it built a lot of stress and panic in the characters. This was another thing I can compliment. The acting was certainly high quality, as at points I felt sympathetic for the characters who were desperate to escape. I liked the idea how the asylum changed some of the crew members, in that it made them become the way the patients were - absolute maniacs. I must also say that the ending of the film is fantastic - I won't say anything more, but you must watch it!

The only thing that really frustrated me about this film was the beginning when they were paying people for interviews to make stories up just for their show. Fair enough if they actually do that in real life, however why would you show the audience that? It's just stupid and really unnecessary in my opinion.

In conclusion, the film was very successful. There was a sustained eerie, and generally frightening atmosphere and feeling during the entire film, to the point where you actually sympathised with the characters.There were many thrilling and very scary scenes, and it was actually very interesting especially with the setting being at an asylum. It really was a very good found-footage horror.

Overall Rating - 6.9/10


  1. Replies
    1. Yeah it was a pretty good film. Good atmosphere, intense and disturbing feelings and emotions and good camera action. All of this as well as low budget. Thanks for the recommendation!