GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2 (BLU RAY)
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
The Vicious Brothers
What's it about
An overly obsessed film student and his friends discover that the original Grave Encounters was actually a real film, where people actually died at the hands of the malevolent spirits of asylum inmates.Not one to leave well enough alone, they venture off to the asylum to find the truth.
Is it good movie?
I don't remember the original Grave Encounters really well, but I do
remember liking it. I thought it was suitably creepy and some very
suitable entertainment for an evening. Needless to say, I tackled the
sequel's review happily when it came across my desk. What I wound up
getting was something I can describe as so close to being awesome. I
really wanted Grave Encounters 2 to be something I was a huge fan of,
but felt it fell a bit short. Not short enough to really slag the film-
it's still unquestionably good.
First off, I'd like to commend the Vicious brothers for writing
something different. Taking a meta approach to the first film is far
more intriguing than simply retreading the steps (though I have more to
say about that later). The first half of the film involves internet
critics who slag the movie, and film students who are trying to film
their own horror flick. Our main story involves Alex (Richard Harmon),
our obsessive, horror-loving director. He gets a message from an
anonymous source after posting his Youtube review of the original film
which leads him down the rabbit hole, trying to discover what really
happened in the first flick.
He tracks down someone who was involved with the first film, and even
flies to LA to try to do it. Without Alex, this movie would never
really get off the ground because he's absolutely obsessed and people
are constantly saying "why are you doing this, this is stupid". If he'd
listen to them, there wouldn't be much to watch. Although a bit
obsessive, watching Alex and his friends for the first part of the film
is pretty fun. Seeing them critique horror films in an honest way (even
going so far as to name drop Paranormal Activity while trying to make
their own (with some blatant horror homages in there) is entertaining
and relatively honest. You'll get to know these characters somewhat,
although it's mostly Alex (and the guy's head and shoulders above his
supporting cast- great, thoughtful and believable performance) and his
girlfriend (Leanne Lapp), while those on the film crew tend to be a bit
more one dimensional.
Ultimately, where I felt the film stuttered was when they finally wind
up at the mental asylum from the first film, where the movie simply
becomes a spooky horrorfest, just like the first one. Are there some
good jump scares? Absolutely. Are there some scary creatures lurking in
the shadows? Without question! I guess for me, the problem was that the
movie was so fresh-feeling, and I was just down with the whole thing
until it just seemed to be getting so interesting, then falls into the
"why are you idiots still doing this" category, until they just start
getting eventually picked off.
Again, don't get me wrong- the scares tend to be effective and all
that, but it just felt so familiar that I couldn't shake some
disappointment. Near the end of the film, there is a bit of revelation
involving a character from the previous installment, but I felt that it
wasn't overly effective and the whole paranormal aspect of things was
reallllly pushed at this point. if you're one of those people who needs to be able to hang on to a shred of believability that this movie is probably not for you. It gets pretty silly and out there by the end. I think that people who are huge fans of the first film are likely going to enjoy this one.
Video / Audio
1.78:1 widescreen in full 1080p
is the order of the day, and it's not really easy to grade the video
quality here because the movie pretty much purposely looks like garbage
for a majority of its runtime. This isn't something that needs to be
seen on Blu Ray, but it seems to look alright. Again, video is often
purposely dark, muddy, blurry and ugly.
The main track of the disc is DTS-HD
Master Audio 5.1, and sounds really great. The surround is
balanced very well, dialogue is crystal clear and the horror basically
just shines through just as you'd hope it might.
The only feature is is a 3 minute interview
with the Vicious Brothers (who aren't even brothers,
disappointing, right?) as they briefly discuss how they tried to
differentiate the two flicks and the general idea behind this one. A
A trailer is included as well!
I was hoping for a bit more out of the second half, but I certainly enjoyed watching this flick and it ramps up the insanity pretty well, mixing in some decent scares (even if the ghost creatures seem a little generic). If you're down for some found footage, you'll have a good time with this.