Written and Directed by The Vicious Brothers
These days sitting around and scoffing at the heap of phony ghost hunting and alien discovery shows seems to be the hip thing to do. Grave Encounters draws on this idea by showing what would happen if a paranormal investigation show actually found what it was ‘looking’ for.
Grave Encounters continues a string of found footage horror films released following the success of the low budget Blair Witch Project. Surprisingly enough, there have been a number of successful films to come out of this sub genre. Grave Encounters is influenced heavily by the story of Blair Witch and several spooky themes found in Paranormal Activity. In this regard, it is reminiscent of James Wan’s Insidious, insofar as the film is masterfully constructed from borrowed shots and elements.
The cast of Grave Encounters is noteworthy for alternating between quite mediocre and excellent. One could argue that this was done purposefully to further poke fun at the pseudo-reality TV shows, but the point was taken too far regardless. Other than this hiccup, The Vicious Brothers’ direction was nothing but excellent. The pacing kept the audience short of breath for nearly an hour and induced quite the chilling atmosphere.
The ‘lost in a maze’ formula, employed by most found footage films, is greatly improved upon by setting the characters in a more threatening environment. Along with the creeping feeling of claustrophobia, the audience does not know what’s coming next, much like in a haunted house attraction. This creates an experience that is both enthralling and terrifying.
Though some may bash this film as an imitation of previous entries in the genre, Grave Encounters remains spooky and effective trip through a haunted insane asylum.