GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2 (REVIEW)
Dir. The Vicious Brothers
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
In 2011 GRAVE ENCOUNTERS created a little stir in the horror scene blending the seen it all before found footage genre with genuine scares and tension making it the sleeper hit of the year. A sceptic film crew lead by Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) head into an old Asylum only to be proven wrong in some genuinely scary scenes and jumps soon to follow. With it’s simple story and tension between the cast and ghouls, it was only a matter of time before a sequel was made.
And here we have it, GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2. However, unlike most sequels and the only exception we’ve seen being ‘The Human Centipede’ this plays to the basis that the first was a film and now it’s time for a new series of friends, a group of film-makers, are led to find out if these tapes were real.
After a series of clips of YouTube reviews for the original we’re moved to a party where Alex (Richard Harmon) and his friends are partying hard and we learn they’re making a film, reviewing and directing for the horror genre. When he gets a message from ‘Death Awaits’ it is only a matter of time before they start seeking the truth behind the events of the original film and after an interview with the producer of the film, cleverly played by himself, it’s discovered that GE was in fact found footage, stitched together to make a few bucks.
Queue a fast track camera crew and a quick ride to the asylum and we’re back to familiar ground with the ghosts that haunt the asylum getting bigger and scarier than ever.
However, while the team get reduced they come across Sean/Lance from the original who somehow managed to survive his lobotomy and is seeking his escape, being driven insane by his 9 year stay at the hospital. Working together they seek a way out and come across a red door that could be their escape, or not as the hospital goes all poltergeist on us with whirlpools and flying cameras showing that the Vicious Brothers have used the money made from the original to good use.
But with all this visual upgrading, it seems what made the first film so good has all but been erased to try and stitch together a story that not only complicates the series but is so absurd that originality is replaced with just plain silly. Essentially the hospital lures film crews in to make a film and has done previously with the quantity of cameras found (where were these references in the original?) to continue a series of ‘snuff’ films that will create a ‘Ring’ effect that will never die as we tell from the ending.
This has nothing to do with the doctor who is briefly seen in both films, more horrifyingly in this feature, which could have developed into a main feature of the series. While the ghost scenes are terrifying with giant ghosts and floating spectres, it’s a shame that everything that made GRAVE ENCOUNTERS so good has been lost in translation.
We can’t fault the actors for the most part as this plays very closely to the first film and it’s a shame to compare it so dearly as without its grander prequel this may be a better film. For the most part, GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2 is hair-raisingly terrifying and a better entry in the Found Footage genre that pushes itself outside the familiar realm of cheap thrills in place for a clever and original idea.
Unfortunately this clever idea has been marred by ego (does it take 10 minutes to explain about the success of the first film?) and flawed execution that we only hope is wrapped up nicely with the planned close to the trilogy.