Oh by the way, Grave Encounters? FUCK YOU. I don't know why these found footage ghost stories really send me off my rocker but man. Why did I choose to watch this on a night when I'm home alone and vulnerable? I wasn't even drinking wine---what the hell was I thinking? Plus, where is my cat? Doesn't she know I NEED her?!
My fascination with paranormal "reality" TV shows began and ended with MTVs FEAR. That show really scared the crap out of me. I'm still not even going to listen if you tell me it was all fake. And it's not like we ever really saw anything concrete in that show that would even remotely suggest that ghosts existed. It was really the reactions of the people and that feeling of pure terror you get when walking down a dark hallway knowing that something just does not feel right. The feeling of being trapped. That's what made that show really fucking terrifying.
Grave Encounters takes the concept of the paranormal reality show and really uses it to its advantage. The characters, especially the main one really nailed that stereotypical douche bag thing that happens with these shows today.
Like, "HI. I'M A TOUGH GUY WHO WEARS BLACK SHIRTS. LET'S FIND GHOSTS. AHH SOMETHING TOUCHED ME. NOPE NOPE, I'M COOL GUYS DON'T WORRY". You can honestly believe this guy and all the phoniness that appears to be happening behind the scenes. That's what makes the actual scare factor of Grave Encounters so good. It really spins that idea of douche head ridiculousness and it almost feels gratifying getting to see those douche bags actually get scared.
The premise is simple--a network guy shows us this final tape of a paranormal investigator show. The plan was to spend the night in an abandoned and supposedly haunted mental hospital but the cast and crew never made it out---yet, we have their footage.
I'll be up front with you and tell you that for the most part Grave Encounters follows the school of in your face terror. That really mean and unfair terror where you're all like, "Huh? What? There's a person over there?" *DEVIL FACE ALL UP IN YOUR FACE* *HIGH PITCH SCREAMS* It's a cheap shot but goddamn does it work. It gives you that instant jolt that so closely resembles a heart attack and it makes you laugh or in my case cry---because you have to get that adrenaline out somehow. See this is why I can't go in haunted houses. When things really jump out at me I freak out and either punch someone really hard or cry. Nobody wins!
Sure, Grave Encounters has its fair share of subtle scares as well. There's a really nice little part early on where the camera man puts the camera down to call his girlfriend. In the background we see the wheelchair slowly........roll a bit and the camera man never even notices. That right there is good stuff because it's dramatic irony and that stuff rocks.
Another unexpected thrill of Grave Encounters is the kind of twist that happens to our characters inside the abandoned mental hospital. I was not aware things would be taken to such a nightmarish, supernatural place. Basically what happens is you find that our characters are having a really difficult time getting out of this place. It does exactly what Blair Witch does in that it traps you as the viewer with them. We too feel pain, anguish and frustration and it creates this insane amount of tension.
Of course I will say that Grave Encounters definitely takes things and runs with it. Yes, it's all still very scary in that FUCK way but it's in that way where someone just keeps playing a mean trick on you. You keep telling them to stop but they don't! And after a while it just gets so ridiculous but you still react every time.
Oh right, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Grave Encounters gets a little too CGI happy at times. Again, it's still effective but it is at least a little bit jarring in that it kind of removes you from that intense, realistic feeling of found footage. Obviously I know that giant weird black hands wouldn't really come through the ceiling and the wall, the question is...do other people know that? I guess not.
Anywho, I will highly recommend you watch Grave Encounters if you are in the mood for peeing and crapping your pants. It's not the kind of scary movie that sticks with you long after the viewing but it's certainly the kind to keep you wildly entertained and on your toes for its total running time.
Also again, fuck you to the scene where someone in a hospital gown runs in the background and then faces the wall and............yeah......fuck that scene man! That was very upsetting and now I'm never going to go in my basement ever again. Guess someone won't be having clean clothes ever again. Oh nuts that someone is me.