ON DVD / STREAMING ON NETFLIX
A team of phony paranormal investigators has their skepticism put to the test in this mockumentary-style horror opus. Collingwood is a mental institution in Maryland that has been closed for more than half a century. Local legend had it that the hospital is haunted, and the former caretaker (Bob Rathie) and a number of folks who live nearby claim that they've seen and heard signs of paranormal disturbances in the night. Jerry Hartfeld (Ben Wilkinson) is a television producer specializing in reality shows who arranges for a team of basic cable ghost hunters, led by host Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson), to shoot an episode of their show Grave Encounters at Collingwood. It doesn't take long for Preston and his crew to tip their hands as fakes who are happy to stage phony interviews and set up special effects "disturbances" for the cameras. But they discover Collingwood really is home to forces beyond their understanding, and they're in very real danger as the night wears on. The first feature film from the writing and directing team of Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz (aka The Vicious Brothers), Grave Encounters was an official selection at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Director: Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz aka The Vicious Brothers
Cast: Sean Rogerson, Juan Riedinger, Mackenzie Gray, Arthur Corber, Luis Javier
Release Date: Sep 09, 2011
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 1 hr. 32 min.
Genres: Horror, Suspense/Thriller
Grave Encounters is one of those low rent horror films that “borrows” from tons of sources even lifting some inspiration from a certain Travel Channel ghost hunting show. It’s a hodgepodge of assorted ideas think Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity, [REC] and Sci-Fi cult film Cube thrown into a blender. It starts off almost as a satire on the whole ghost hunting as a show idea with characters that generally unlikable. There is a certain level of enjoyment and good laughs to be had watching these guys get beat around by the ghostly apparitions. In fact, for a certain amount of time it’s kind of a fun ride before it redirects in an odd but interesting tangent. The center portion of the film throws out some fun idea which it never full explores or explains as it degrades into a series of funhouse style antics which become more outlandish and ridiculous. By the film’s final act, any fun has been sapped by the director’s turning actors who were originally annoying into something more grating. The film beats the same drum so many times that it makes it feels incredibly longer that it is and has you hoping they’d just kill off the remaining cast as quickly as possible as it stumbles towards an increasingly nonsensical finale.