Tribeca Film Festival 2011: “Grave Encounters”
I went into “Grave Encounters” thinking I was way ahead of it, much like the characters in the film itself. I will admit that the movie hit me with some things that I did not see coming. It is always nice when a film can do that.
The story concerns a cast and crew from a reality TV show, called “Grave Encounters,” whose gimmick is that it investigates ghosts. The film purports to show actual footage of what happened to these investigators when they shot episode 6, which had them voluntarily locked, for the night, in an old, abandoned insane asylum, said to be haunted by ghosts of inmates past.
After a brief introduction the movie consists of what is purported to be uncut footage from the never completed episode. Since the footage is uncut, we see the characters snickering over the phoniness of their “reality” show. Then things begin to go “bump” in the night. The tension builds and soon I, as well as the film’s characters, got more than what we bargained for.
“Grave Encounters” is a funny, smart, scary little movie. The filmmakers, identified as the Vicious Brothers (Is there a better name for a pair of horror film directors?), certainly know their way around the conventions of reality TV and horror genres. Their film is certainly scarier and more credible than “The Blair Witch Project” (it’s most obvious influence) and has some good, unexpected, jolts.
I saw “Grave Encounters” at a sedate, sparsely attended noon screening. It got some laughs but no shrieks. To appreciate the full effect, this is a movie best seen at a midnight showing with a full audience.