Thursday, January 26, 2012

Grave Encounters: Who Wants to Pee AND Poop Their Pants?

Grave Encounters is one of those very rare movies that isn't particularly fantastic yet somehow, it manages to make you pee and poop your pants at the same time. It's one of those movies you can watch with your friends and scream and cry and burn the roof of your mouth by biting into a piece of pizza that's too hot. Not that I would know or anything...

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 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.


The Mike said...

Ahahahaha! Love it. I actually had to turn this one off for a minute and take a breather at one point. Fucking hallways and darkness are like right behind needles.

On the bright, I showed it to friends later and got to laugh at them while they freaked out. So maybe that will help you be less angry at the movie?

Good stuff, and glad you liked it!

Yddy said...

Oh my gosh, Fear scared the crap out of me. For some reason, I would always watch it alone on Friday nights while my roommates were out. One time they came home when I was particularly scared and vulnerable and my knees actually gave out because they freaked me out so badly. With that being said, I really want to see Grave Encounters. I may just have to do so on a bright and sunny day when I can't have the holy bejeezus scared out of me.

Andre Dumas said...

Thank goodness TH. I realized during this that I too have an insane fear of dark hallways and mother fucking things in the dark! I feel less silly for peeing my pants now. Yay!

Yddy: I think you can watch a few episodes of FEAR on Youtube or you used to but then some mean person probably removed them.

jenn w said...

.I just saw this movie earlier today. I liked the sound fx and, although it was terribly transluscent, the story held it's own in the ever growing found footage genre. Was wondering where they shot the was terrifically terrifying. Also watched A Haunting in Salem today....not nearly as good of a story, but good fright candy throughout.

Verdant Earl said...

I was watching this movie, kinda in the background, when this post popped up in my feed reader.

I immediately stopped treating it as background noise and watched it until the end.


And thanks.

Maynard Morrissey said...

totally agree with
isn't particularly fantastic yet somehow, it manages to make you pee and poop your pants at the same time

It's not perfect but it's highly entertaining, and full of scenes that scared the crap outta me. Thumbs up! :)

commodore sixty four said...

What i remember from fear the most was not it being scary but really funny because of that weird camera on a pole that the people had to wear right in front of their faces it bobbed up and down when they ran away from all those "terrifying" noises and for some reason always made me laugh.

Mikey Sarago said...

I seem to be the only one who thought this movie was pretty poopy, and I'm usually a total sucker for found footage films. Although I did love how disorienting and claustrophobic it got as they were trying to find their way out of the building. That really affected me. And holy crud, I forgot about Fear! I used to LURVE that dumb show!!! I remember this one episode where this guy was so scared he was crying for his mommy, haha. Good times.

Spooky Sean said...

I saw the tags, what's up, you rang!?, the movie was...
I gotcha now.

Spooky Sean said...

I'm not the one that's so far awaaaayyy
When I feel the snake bite enter my veeeiiinnnss
Never did I want to be here again
And I don't remember why I caaaame
Fucking Godsmack song always gets stuck in my head when I watch MTV's Fear. And I fucking hate Godsmack!
What kind of a name for a band is Godsmack anyway?

Chris Hewson said...

Have you ever heard of Shock Treatment? It's a reality show where contestants are put in a simulated insane asylum, and they are tested to see how long they can stay. I haven't seen it, but it's presented by Rutger Haur, so that makes it watchworthy in my book!

Dod said...

I had low expectations for this movie, so I was more than pleasantly surprised by it. Abandoned hallways, darkness, and a nightmarish maze-like quality about halfway through - it was like a really good haunted house attraction that usually pops up around October.

Plus, I found the "psychic" hysterical.

kenyon said...

FEAR i think was the first to take on this concept, at least, that's the earliest show/film i can remember like that. it was good, and ironically on MTV! as for grave encounters, i think the trailer showed a lot of promise but it really let me down. i'll be posting my review soon at