If it's crap ... We'll tell you
This is the film that Paranormal Activity promised it would be from the trailers, but never was. This film is made in the mockumentary style where it "claims" in 2003 one of the first reality ghost hunter tv shows Crew went into one of the most haunted buildings in the U.S.; a Psychiatric Hospital and stayed there over a night, but suddenly vanished. Now, their footage shows what happened to them and we see the awe-inspiring terror among them as they see more than just "shit moving"(Thank you paranormal Activity) and actually goes places you would never expect.
What makes this movie when compared to Paranormal Activity, is this is more refreshing and a bit tightly constructed. In PA you could never for watch without once thinking,"GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!" Here, they actually have a reasonable excuse as to why they can't leave. Also, Grave Encounters offer some unique and interesting concepts I never would think to see, yet, while the setting is perfect as its an old, abandoned Hospital used to house insane people, there are a lot of ideas to bring into the movie., While some are vague, they are in your face and you clearly see some new things you would never see in any of these mocumentary films. While the cast isn't necessarily a cast you can root for, they are likable and one you can follow throughout. The main host; Lance Preston is the most you can relate to since you get to know him more as just basically a con-artist. He knows none of this is real, yet, as he experiences these paranormal phenomena, his reaction and the way his sanity melts down in the end is well worth it seeing alone.
But lets not forget; this is a horror movie. And this is a DAMN good horror movie! I literally jumped a few times and it was done effectively. The beginning is a bit slow but it establishes what we are to expect. Such as specific ghosts we are to see or incidents we are to see. Then, as night comes down, we first start out with a few things moving and loud noises. Then we soon are thrown among demons and actual ghosts that literally want to kill them and scare the living crap out of us. Its almost like mixing in Paranormal Activity with Rec with some demons from legion(Like the old women or the ice cream man on steroids) but in a good way. It has the feeling of claustrophobia and where you feel the surroundings themselves are closing in our characters. There are some seamless special effects for such a small budget that really impressed me and made the experience more real.This movie goes places you wouldn't expect and I have to give credit where credit is due.(some of the things may seem cheesy, it is new so justifiable) This is the movie you need to see either at a midnight screening with a packed crowd WITH NO DISTRACTIONS( Better your not distracted other wise your totally out of the world it develops) or at home with the lights out. It does provide some good scares when the mood is done right in your environment.
The film does have some minor negative aspects. There are moments where it does resemble other films in the genre that are weaker than what was portrayed in those other films. And the camera does get shaky at times but not to a point of literally barfing or constant shakiness. And the dialogue is bad with what the actors have to deal with and which makes the acting from the minor characters really bad and somewhat annoying.
Overall, out of a Spill rating, i would give it a High Matinee to teetering on a Full Price. This film does achieve what it does with its cheesy plot and elements yet it impressed me and furthermore, made the experience terrifying. And really, This actually does something where Paranormal Activity failed to deliver from the trailers.
The film is expected to be released in Aug 25th, 2011 AVAILABLE ON VOD & SELECT THEATERS in the U.S.
Trailer right here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8FBRATbJoA