Those that know me well, know that I am a sucker for these type of “found footage” films. Yes, they are quite played out these days and usually take a critical beating, but screw it, I watch ’em anyway. Grave Encounters has a very simple premise, done many times before, I’m sure. A crew for a reality ghost hunters show called, oddly enough, “Grave Encounters,” lock themselves up for 8 hours straight overnight in an abandoned mental hospital. The people involved pretty much all treat it like bullshit behind the scenes and laugh at themselves for what they do. Basically its a comment on the fakeness and ridiculousness of most so called “reality shows”. The funniest one being the fake psychic they have on the show who over embellishes the supposed presence he feels in the place, meanwhile they laugh their asses off once the cameras are gone.
Before things get serious, there is a real level of hokeyness and cheese in this film that is at near cringe-worthy levels. Thankfully, not too much time is wasted on that aspect. I thought the ghost effects, make-up and scares were done effectively well. These ghosts really ain’t messin’ around and they seem angry as all hell. Clearly the patients in this hospital have a real axe to grind. I love the sheer agressiveness of these tortured spirits. The flea-market quality acting turned into something much more solid once the shit hit the fan in this story. The actors all portrayed a real sense of fear and desperation in their performances that I enjoyed watching.
The ending is far from satisfying but I guess it really didn’t need to be. I wouldn’t recommend this flick to everyone, and only to those like me who don’t mind the cliched setting, and storyline, along with the smoke screen of more “found footage” style, low budget film-making. I give Grave Encounters 3 bloody phone booths out of 5.