BY MICHELLE MEDFORD
I loved Grave Encounters. I thought it was one of the most original horror stories I’ve seen in years. It poked fun at ghost hunting shows (which I love in their own right) but also used the whole set-up to the cleverly craft a simple yet terrifying story with unexpected, unforgettable scares and a perfectly chilling ending. It’s one of my all-time favourite horror movies. Needless to say, I had very high expectations of the sequel. With a creative, promising premise–using the hype of the first film to get a little meta, pretending fans of the film found out it was more than fiction, thus beginning their ill-fated investigation into its truth–I thought I might love it just as much. Instead, as much as I loved the first, I was that much disappointed with the sequel.
It took a while for the movie to get into the scares, starting out with a group of film students doing a bunch of boring stuff–interviewing the supposed Grave Encounters creators (the directors/writers of the first film, The Vicious Brothers posing as “interns” for a production company) and doing some video blogging–before getting the mental hospital where the first film was set.
Like you may have read in other reviews for this film, the scares are generally the same, though I wouldn’t say they’re entirely re-hashed. It seems like this time around, the scares were supposed to be, well, scarier, and played off of effects that just come across as cheap, and in turn, less scary. What I enjoyed about the first film was that the scares were pretty simple, but effective because they were so unexpected and creative. This time around, they’re more like scares we’ve seen elsewhere, either in the prequel or other low-budget horror. However, I will admit, there are still at least one or two clever ideas this time around, but that clearly isn’t enough to make it worth the entire movie.
Before I saw this movie, I knew that this movie was in part created because the first was such a success with horror-loving audiences and critics. The problem is, planned with seemingly less thought than the prequel, you begin to feel like that’s the entire reason this film was created, and if not, worse, that the first movie was just a fluke.
Grave Encounters 2 is currently playing at Toronto’s Carton Cinema until Thursday this week. It’s also available for rental on VOD.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiIIKSRHuyU]