Grave Encounters starts with a typical cliché for the film style: a television executive claims they have got their hands on the footage about to be shown but little is known about it. But it all soon becomes clear. We are introduced to an amateur film team desperately trying to make a hip, cool, ghost hunting TV show. We see the out-takes, the behind the scenes, and the spooky, but completely fake, world that these hunters present. They lock themselves in an abandoned mental hospital with some horrific past with the intention of staying the night. They set up their cameras and go to explore. However, it seems ghosts are not as fake as they have believed and it seems that the paranormal entities within the hospital are more intent on keeping the crew within the walls than even the chains on the doors. At least it will give them good footage right?
|At least the ghosts are polite...|
|Welcome to the Criss Angel of ghost shows.|
As previously stated, this is a wonderful parody of ghost hunting television shows. It highlights the absurdity of these shows and how they are undoubtedly created. The scares, when they come, vary between the psychological and jumps. There are haunting images, dramatic irony, and a powerful use of the universal human fear of the unknown. Yes, it is cheesy, and yes it is nothing revolutionary but it will no doubt cause a chill down your spine like few other handheld horrors do. The characters are not likeable. Truth be told, they are sleazy but the audience are never encouraged to dislike them. They are human, totally accessible, and we can easily sympathise, even if we recognise their hubris.
A good horror. An old idea executed with authority and command. It will not haunt you forever but it may well make you uncomfortable when watching.
Best Bit? Possibly one of the more well known images of this unknown film, a girl cries in a corner and, when approached by the crew, turns to reveal an uncomfortably dark face which transforms horrifyingly before our eyes. A strong image and a scary moment.