GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2 Review
Twin Engine Films and Pink Buffalo Films present GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2.
Directed by John Poliquin. Written by The Vicious Brothers.
Starring Richard Harmon, Leanne Lapp, Dylan Playfair, Stephanie Bennet, Howie Lai and Seth Rogerson.
On most Sunday afternoons, I engross myself in homework. Today, I decided to procrastinate. So I turned to Xfinity and paid the ridiculously high $6.99 for Grave Encounters 2, the next installment of a film series that is almost certain to continue producing sequels as long as idiots like me will still pay $6.99 to see them. This new sequel, brought to you by the aptly named Vicious Brothers, is directed by John Poliquin. As with most found footage films, the cast is comprised of fresh-faced actors whom no one has ever seen (Seriously, these people don’t even have Wikipedia pages).
Our film opens with a number of wannabe Roger Eberts reviewing the first film, the last of which introduces us to the cynical Alex Wright (Richard Harmon). Wright, an established Youtube reviewer, pans the film. He and his fellow students at Generic Party University aspire to create careers in the film business. Wright begins to receive eerie messages from the mysterious “Death Awaits.” Curiosity gets the best of him and he resolves to create his own documentary to uncover the evil that lurks within the Asylum walls. But as went the proverbial cat, Alex and his crew meet their own grisly fate.
As I established in my previous review, I generally hate sequels and I’m a whore for found footage films. As the first film already set the bar firmly in the mediocre position, I went in really hoping to like this one. Why do I always get my heart broken? Because I love too much. What can I say? I love shitty horror films. I think there may be a DSM-IV category for that.
The film offers little original material, even going so far as to juxtapose scenes from the first movie with scenes which almost reenact that opus. The makers may have intended to use this filmmaking tactic ironically, but it comes off as lazy. They also use the same face-shifting jump scares that the first film employed, but with the added effect of backwards-running filming. Which is totally realistic. “Hey, this scary, bald banshee motherfucker is chasing me down the scary hallway in the scary abandoned hospital. Film that shit!” Of course, this problem presents itself in nearly every found footage film. Without opportunistic, whiney douche-canoes driving the action, there would be no movie.
Three words people: Fucking. Flying. Cameras. Nice move, filmmakers. I have three more: lame, overused, cheesy. You think that Youtube is the perfect place for attention whores. You’re wrong, dude. It’s apparently this hospital. The specter is the ultimate Annoying Facebook Girl. At the beginning of the crew’s odyssey through the maze that is the hospital, it orders them to “film everything.” I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but this sentiment will make more sense by the last fifteen minutes.
That last bit was a lie. None of that shit made much sense.
Towards the middle of the film, we run into our old friend Lance Preston (in this film, however, the crew refers to him by his real name, Sean Rogerson) who has apparently been trapped in the asylum for a decade. I cannot stress the hardcore nature of this dude. After losing all of his friends, being lobotomized by a demon, and being trapped in a demonized looney bin for ten years, only able to subsist on rats and toilet water, he’s justifiably a bit on the raging psychotic side. I love this dude so much that I want to keep him as a pet. He’s the driving force of the ludicrously lackluster second half of the film. His recreation of his original show is simply priceless. The actor himself was fantastic, hilarious, and absurd. He’s like a big badass burrito, as well as one of the only likable characters in the film.
A quick word on the characters: I can’t help but think you could punch any one of these little assholes in the face and feel as though they totally deserved it. Is it ok to cheer for the demon hospital? It should be. Also, Wright looks oddly like Edward Cullen, which I think is the audience’s first hint that he’s a whiny, annoying son of a bitch.
I must admit, Grave Encounters 2 did have some genuinely funny moments. Our amateur, Craven-worshiping documentarian produces a deliciously horrible slasher movie (I love it when bad actors act like they are bad actors). And pretty much any scene with Rogerson is great. The entire premise of the film, while somewhat believable (because, let’s face it, college kids are idiots), is stretched pretty thin at this point. As my love muffin Sean Rogerson says when the crew tells him how they broke into the hospital, “Why would you do that?” Exactly. Why would you do that? Because white people make bad life choices when they are in a horror film.
And for the love of Aisha, don’t go into the fucking haunted hospital. Ever.
Review by Katie Lucas, for Pitofhorror.com