The Horror, the Horror, by Sarah Brinks
What is worse then bad horror? That’s right reader; nothing. Okay; world hunger, disease, human trafficking those are worse… but when it comes to film, bad horror is about the worst. Grave Encounters 2 is bad horror, not only because it has bad writing, bad acting, and unforgivably bad story telling but it is insulting to human intelligence.
It would be difficult to discuss Grave Encounters 2 without first discussing Grave Encounters, which for the rest of this review (and my sanity) shall be referred to as GE1 and GE2. GE1 tells the story of a TV crew that is filming episode six of a ghost hunting show called ‘Grave Encounters’. The crew locks themselves into an insane asylum over night to “hunt ghosts’. The thing that GE1 does well is really grasping the tone and style of the plethora of ghost hunting shows on cable. At about four in the morning all hell breaks loose and the crew is trapped in the asylum. The interesting thing about the asylum is that it moves and shifts similar to the Rose Red house in Rose Red. Those are the only good parts of GE1. Spoilers for GE1: the crew all dies. GE2 starts with a bunch of YouTube reviews of GE1 on DVD. We follow one of these reviewers, a young film student and self proclaimed YouTube sensation Alex.
Alex starts getting clues on his YouTube thread that lead him to believe that GE1 was real. He goes so far as to visit Jerry, GE1‘s producer, in Hollywood. Jerry admits on Alex’s hidden camera that it was real and he packaged it as fiction to recoup his losses… you know like they do in Hollywood. He even admits that the studio wants him to make a sequel, GE2. See how meta and clever this movie is? Me either. The gang then packs up a bunch of AV gear from their film school and head to Canada to find the actual asylum and film there. Then you guessed it, the exact same thing that happened in GE1 happens in GE2. I mean shot for shot parts of the movies are identical. It is the laziest type of film making I have seen since the shot for shot remake of Psycho but without the good acting or interesting plot.
We’re going to take a brief break in the review to take a logic test. If someone set a box in front of you and stuck their hand in it and the box then chopped their fingers off would you then voluntarily stick your hand in the box? Right again reader, you wouldn’t. Which leads anyone who is unfortunate enough to watch this movie to ask, why would you knowingly and under your own power go into a haunted mental asylum that you know killed a hand full of people?
I’m going to spoil GE2 in this review, because you should not watch this movie. At this point the film crew talks to the spirit that got them there via the Internet clues through a Ouija board. The mental asylum appears to be haunted by the ghost of Cecil B DeMille, not really but for short hand that is what I am going to name the ghost/filmmaker puppeteer. He tells them to film everything. Of course the members of t he film crew that were just brought along to die early start dying. The crew then finds the host of ‘Grave Encounters’ from GE1 who has been trapped in the asylum for ten years. He is in contact with Cecil B DeMille and uses the new crew to try and get him released. In the end the ghost actually starts picking up cameras and making his own movie. Yes, we are subjected to shots of floating cameras filming the action. It is intolerable how awful this movie is.
I want to take a minute to talk about found footage movies. I really like them. You do have to make some logic leaps and just accept that they are going to film everything because the movie need them to, but sometimes you get some interesting shots or ideas or story lines out of that necessity. For example the oscillating fan/camera set up in Paranormal Activity 3 or the apartment set up in REC. GE1 and GE2 are worst types of found footage films, they exist in a world where humans think and behave in a way that no real human does. Also when then film has to go to such lengths that it uses a ghost’s motivations to justify why the cameras are still on, it has clearly gone into the realm of ridiculous.
Don’t watch Grave Encounters 2. It is terrible. Do anything else with your time; read Cat Fancy Magazine, watch your roommate clip their toe nails, or call you mom. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.