Grave Encounters (2011)
Main cast: Sean Rogerson (Lance Preston), Ashleigh Gryzko (Sasha Parker), Juan Riedinger (Matt White), Merwin Mondesir (TC Gibson), Mackenzie Gray (Houston Grey), and Arthur Corner (Dr Arthur Friedkin)
Directors: The Vicious Brothers


Now that the handheld video camera in a haunted building type of horror films is in, it isn't long before Canada decided that it too could do a REC on everybody.

There was this reality TV show once upon a time called Grave Encounters. Lance Preston, the host and director, was a maverick who, inspired by his childhood brush with ghosts, set out to prove that ghosts exist through this TV series. Lance was aided by Sasha Parker, an "occult specialist", and Matt White, "technical expert". Of course, these credentials were all bunk, as at the end of the day, these folks just wanted to give a good TV show. Their producer was pleased with the first five episodes, but the show never went beyond the sixth episode. Why? Well, Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital happened.

Grave Encounters chronicles just what and why these folks never could continue the show after their stay at the place. The asylum for the insane was notorious for Dr Arthur Friedkin's experiments on his patients, and understandably, these folks believe that the abandoned building today would make a great location for their sixth episode. As per their gimmick, the three along with cameraman TC Gibson and special guest psychic Houston Grey would be locked for one night inside the building. This is a bad mistake, and these guys will discover just how really haunted the place can be...

The best thing I can say about Grave Encounters is that these twits have a good excuse to keep the video camera rolling when any sane person would just either bash the monsters in the head with the camera or take out the batteries to be used for something else. They are in pitch darkness with only the video cameras as a source of light, so yes, the show must go on then.

Everything else about this movie feels strictly formulaic. In an increasingly saturated genre packed with earnest folks brandishing handheld video cameras and hoping to score the next big franchise, the worst thing a film can do is to bore me, and that's what Grave Encounters does. Okay, TC is mildly amusing, being the genre-savvy loud-mouthed sassy black guy that he is, but he alone can't carry the movie on his back, not when the rest of the crew in this movie are strictly cookie-cutter.

The script, written by the Vicious Brothers who also direct, plods on interminably, as the idiots in the movie wander aimlessly in darkened hallways. The ennui is occasionally broken by the appearance of some guy in bedsheets and cheap make-up, or maybe a flying piece of furniture, but for the most part, it's a stream of hysterical babbling in dimly-lit corridors, making the whole movie an unfortunate metaphor for my state of mind while watching this dreary flick. Worse, there's hardly any surprise to be had because the movie faithfully adheres to the structure and twists that have been done to death already in movies of the same sort that have came before it.

With thinly drawn characters I don't give a damn about, in a plot that tries too hard to imitate better movies of the same nature. Grave Encounters is frankly too mediocre to get worked up over.

Rating: 55


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