Grave Encounters Movie Review

Release: 2011, Rating: NR, Runtime: 92 min.

I said in my [Rec] ² movie review that I wasn’t a big fan of handheld shot movies, yet here I am, dedicating a couple of days to get caught up on several of them. First on the chopping block was Grave Encounters, a surprisingly effective ghost film, that at first pokes fun at all those ghost hunter shows, before spiraling into a fairly scary trip through an insane asylum. Let’s hunt some ghosts together by reading on…

Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: For their ghost hunting reality show, a production crew locks themselves inside an abandoned mental hospital that’s supposedly haunted – and it might prove to be all too true.

Grave Encounters clearly has its sights set on popular ghost hunting shows, that seem to be all the rage nowadays. The most obvious one that is poked at, is Ghost Adventures, which my wife loves to watch. (I assume this is due to the host being a hunk.) Anyway, Grave Encounters starts off with that premise and goes with it, with our crew of hunters checking out an old abandoned asylum. Reports are the place is haunted and they decide to do a lock down during the night.

The crew goes around and sets up night vision cameras and has a ton of equipment to hopefully catch a ghost. The funny part is, they don’t entirely believe in ghosts, so they think the night is going to be uneventful. Thankfully for us, things start taking a scary turn fairly quickly and in no time, creepy stuff starts taking place. Soon, the crew finds themselves trapped in a never ending maze, fearing each turn, as it may be their last.

I really enjoyed Grave Encounters. I liked the idea behind the show and once the haunting starts taking place, I got so enveloped in the asylum and how it terrorized these people. There was several places where I got a good jump and the lack of music throughout the movie, was extremely effective in creating a tense situation. Plus, the acting managed to do a perfect job at capturing that realistic premise, the movie was going for.

The movie isn’t completely perfect however, as the CGI on some ghosts was pretty lackluster at times and wasn’t necessary. Yes, it did a nice job giving me that jump, but I’m thinking it would’ve just as been fine with no CGI at all.

Grave Encounters won’t be for everyone, as there is tons of shaky cam and bouts of nothing going on. It also takes a little time to get going, but for me, I loved the setup and the environment of the asylum was superbly scary. Fans of ghost stories are really going to love this one. Recommend.


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