The first Grave Encounters came out of nowhere to surprise me combining old school scares with J-horror & the odd jump scare thrown in for good measure. It utilised one of my most hated horror movie tropes to great effect, the found-footage camera shots.
Grave Encounters 2 begins with the angle that the first movie was just that, a movie….this worried me as the last film I remember doing this was freakin’ awful (Blair Witch Project 2). Film student Alex is convinced that the film was real though & wants to produce a movie about it with his friends.
After getting a message online from ‘DeathAwaits666’ (sound familiar?) who lives next to the Asylum & wants to help, Alex & his friends visit the mother of Lance (his real name is Sean), the star & host of the Grave Encounters show in the first movie. She believes that he is still alive but appears to be suffering from dementia.
It appears all the cast of the original movie have either disappeared or have died & the trail leads Alex to the original movies producer who admits the movie is real but Alex can’t prove a thing. Releasing that the only way he can solve the mystery is to get into the asylum Alex arranges to meet his contact in one of the areas of the service corridor.
After some initial difficulties with the local security they break in & set up their cameras before going to meet ‘DeathAwaits666’. Instead of a person they find an Ouija board & use it to communicate with a spirit who was ‘DeathAwaits666’. It tells them to film everything before destroying the board.
After the following security guard is killed, Alex realises his mistake & the group attempt to leave but meet the same resistance that the first lot did…there is no escape. The group come under attack from the evil spirits within the asylum but this time they are far more violent & with a much more sinister motive.
The spirits want everything filmed so another movie can be made bringing more interested groups to the asylum. Using a survived, but gone mad, Lance/Sean as a guide the group fight for their survival within the halls of the asylum. Does the real exit exist beyond the red door & just what has Lance/Sean been promised?
The chance of Grave Encounters 2 living up to the impressive first movie was always going to be tough & sadly the movie falls short on a number of things. Starting with the acting…it’s so-so stuff & beyond our main lead there is next to no character development (rare in any found footage movie). Lance/Sean adds a nice touch for a bit but as he goes on it does become a little bit cheesy.
Visually the film doesn’t differ much from the last with the same halls/areas begin used. The big difference is that it doesn’t take long for the action to ramp up & there is less of the subtle messing around by the spirits. The movie couldn’t have done it any other way, mind you as we are aware of just what is going on in the asylum.
I can’t praise many of the scares either as we’ve seen it all before…the film struggles to back up the excellent tension found in the first. So it instead goes for the all-out jump scares. Take the infamous window…the one that opens by itself. That was used to great effect in Grave Encounters. Here it is used slightly before someone is blasted out of it at speed resulting in a brief jump moment. Does it work? Yes but it is poor by comparison.
The same goes for the inhabitants that make an appearance…the whole distorted face was something I liked in the first but it is used a bit too much here. The over-sized patient that comes crazing through the window was more laughable than scary with many referencing it looking like Ash from Army of Darkness.
However it does get some of the other scares right…the Ouija board scene is tense & the creeping realisation…impressive. There are lots of subtle scares that might go un-noticed that just leave you feeling rightly creeped out. Keep an eye out for the maid’s reaction when they go down in the lift in the hotel scene.
Grave Encounters 2 ends in a bit of mis-match with a confusing portal plot development, an incredibly violent camera to the face & a hint towards a possible sequel.
It’s a pity the film couldn’t live up to its predecessor but it was hard to see how it could. It gets a lot right but also gets a lot wrong…a lot of scares fall flat & it becomes to reliant on jump scares but when it does get it right it is really enjoyable to watch. It’s nice to see effort being put into the found footage genre with both of these films.
Grave Encounters 2