When the trailer first came out it looked genuinely good. It showed a bunch of YouTube clips strung together of people seemingly reviewing the first film, “Grave Encounters”, and then cutting to a specific review where one kid was convinced the movie and the mental hospital were real. So what does he do? Get a bunch of his teenage friends and their awesome cameras and go check it out. This would have worked because it was just kids being dumb and getting killed for it, which in today’s horror world tends to work out. Luckily neither of these movies fit the “torture porn” genre that so many others have been geared towards lately, and just rely on actual scares and atmospheric fright. However, the trailer is about as close as you get to the plot I just laid out for you so if you want a better sequel than whatever Canada made, just watch that instead and be happy.
I’ll do a quick recap for those who haven’t seen the first film since it’s not entirely fair to slander the sequel if you have no clue what the first one was even about. Basically it’s a found footage (I tend to enjoy these, apparently) film involving a TV crew for the show “Grave Encounters”. This is their sixth episode and they are going to spend the night inside of an old insane asylum where the patients were rumored to be used for experiments by the head doctor and his nurses. Of course by the time they realize that locking themselves inside of an abandoned mental hospital overnight was a bad idea, it’s too late. I’ll let you fill in the blanks which shouldn’t be too hard, because as long as you aren’t imagining them running into unicorns and having picnics you’re pretty much on the right track. So this is where the sequel picks up. The main character of the sequel is some douche named Alex, and he represents every pretentious film student in the world who thinks they’re the next Kubrick. He wants to reinvent the horror genre and use films like “Grave Encounters” as his inspiration. Luckily for him it’s at that exact moment that he receives a comment on his YouTube movie review website (because reviewing movies on YouTube is STUPID…) from “death awaits”. Let’s read it! Over the course of a few weeks this “death awaits” keeps messaging him and eventually he convinces his four idiot friends to join him in breaking into this abandoned building to film the whole night and prove that everything from the first film was actually real.
I’m sorry, but why on earth would you want to spend one minute in that building if all of the previous visitors experienced horrible deaths, and then Hollywood profited off of it? That’s like saying, “Hey ‘Jurassic Park’ was so scary, and they just opened up that dinosaur exhibit on that island nobody can easily escape from…wanna go?” (Reader Detail: May not be the best example as I would actually do that…and hope for the power to go out.) So anyway, these wonder-kids arrive on the scene and break into this abandoned happy place and start setting up their cameras. Pretty much within minutes the spirit world decides that nobody messes around on it’s turf and starts scaring the bejeezus out of these kids. It should also be noted that WITHIN MINUTES of this happening, the director (Pretentious Film School Kid) decides that all hope is lost and becomes a lump on the log for the rest of the group. Seriously, he’s an awesome friend and we should all have one like him. The scares continue and the group is slowly picked off one by one a la the first film, all the while having the PFSK talk directly to the camera about how hopeless life is and how all he wanted to do was finish his movie. Even the kid’s hair pissed me off.
I found the first film to be pretty frightening. As far as found footage films go, nothing will ever beat “The Blair Witch Project”, “Paranormal Activity”, or “Cloverfield” for their originality, but coming from someone who has explored abandoned hospitals and their favorite scary film is about one…I enjoyed the first “Grave Encounters”. Sure, the budget could’ve been higher so the effects a bit more realistic, but even putting that aside the scares still made me hug my knees. I’m sorry to say that “Grave Encounters 2” did nothing of the sort except try to repeat some of the same scares but in a worse way. Trying to add a sub-plot was also a mistake because it detracted from the actual creepiness of people being dragged down halls and running away from ghoul-children. The worst part is that it kind of left it open for a third installment, which I can only imagine would be absolutely abysmal. Total ugh-ness.
DIRECTOR’S CUT: Watch the trailer if you want to see the “best” parts, but definitely check out the first film if you like scary movies. A bit rough around the edges but I thought it was pretty good. Also for any future film school student, study the main character so you can reach the maximum level of douchebaggery among your fellow students.
FLICKCHART RATING: 1410/1953 (Much too high in my opinion)