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Film Review: Grave Encounters (2011)


Lance Preston and the crew of “Grave Encounters”, a ghost-hunting reality television show, are shooting an episode inside the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, where unexplained phenomena has been reported for years. All in the name of good television, they voluntarily lock themselves inside the building for the night and begin a paranormal investigation, capturing everything on camera. They quickly realize that the building is more than just haunted – it is alive – and it has no intention of ever letting them leave. They find themselves lost in a labyrinth maze of endless hallways and corridors, terrorized by the ghosts of the former patients. They soon begin to question their own sanity, slipping deeper and deeper into the depths of madness, ultimately discovering the truth behind the hospital’s dark past…and taping what turns out to be their final episode.


With so many ghost and paranormal shows filling up the circuits, it was bound to be sooner than later than someone create a horror film based “around” the filming of an “episode. “Grave Encounters” begins in this vein with even the producer coming on to introduce the episode. As we are brought up to speed, his team of ghost hunters lead by Lance Preston are in the midst of creating a TV series much like what we are used to on other channels. They investigate haunted places, strange occurrences and paranormal rumors brining us a new series by the name of Grave Encounters. Lance’s presentation mirrors Ghost Adventures giving each segment a sensationalistic boost to up the anty. In fact, there is some degree of opener humor that flashes thru the unedited footage poking fun at the way on screen guests are prompted a bit for “some” degree of interesting content. Seeing that I’m a fan of Ghost Adventures, this kind of cinema verite film was right up my alley.

Editors Note: There seems to be a alot of activity on the phrase “Is Grave Encounters Real??”. Which to my amusement means that SOME of you believe it to be true. Folks, it’s fiction, it’s special FX, and it’s Blair Witch in a bottle. None of these found footage films are real. They exist to entertain and scare on a more realistic level….nuff said.

Watch the Trailer for ‘Grave Encounters”

It was up till episode 6 that all was going well. As standard “modus operandi”, the team is locked inside a new haunt that is explained as filler asylum for the excess at Danvers hospital. This building was used to house the ill during the Tuberculosis outbreak. Not a good time for the living.

The adventure awaits inside, and most of all …so does the ghostly inhabitants.

Grave Encounters is indeed cinema verite. The crew carries cameras about not only to document their findings, but to see as well. Though imagine if Rod Sterling stepped in for a minute and announced that you have passed over into hell. This is what makes GE so harrowing from a visual point of view. A seemingly endless array of hospital hallways that seem to go on forever. The team jokes about and carries on awaking the spirits within. Directors which go simply by the moniker of The Vicious Brothers, seem to be well attuned to what scares us. Not only dark things, as most of these kind of films delve into…. but the unknown that exists within the dark.

Our subjects are beginning to awaken to the idea that maybe something isn’t right. This confidence that oozed from the start begins to quickly fade when confronted with real spirits. On camera Sasha experiences a paranormal event involving her hair being pulled, Matt goes missing and T.C is accosted by the sound of slamming doors. If this were the brunt of the film, it probably wouldn’t be enough to shake viewers. Though in its journey arrives a certain brilliance that comes with playing on our fears and then materializing them. Every second builds a new tension that is hard to come off of.

As a watcher, I was jarred by the transformation of not only being a viewer, but feeling like the experience had seeped into my own POV. It wouldn’t be right to disclose all the details, and even if i did, I’m guessing that they wouldn’t time with the places that they occur. Grave Encounters is indeed an adventure that begs for a pleasant resolve. That resolve is stripped away and replaced with more fear inducing moments. Lance Preston, the coolest of the bunch soon gives way to madness as he watches his team fall apart. His team is consumed by the darkness that exists within this building taking the typical TV experience we are used to and scaring the hell out of you.

For a first time out of the gate product, The vicious brothers have excelled and raised the bar on camcorder experiences. Timing is everything with the team at “Twin Engine Films” managing to play on our fears and serving it back in a horrific way. Sean Rogerson , Sean Rogerson, Ashleigh Gryzko, Mackenzie Gray and Merwin Mondesir play off of each others paranoias to a fully vicious mind screw of an adventure. Great use of props, sound and ambience .I’m calling Grave Adventures a fantastic experience of horror and hostility that will chill you to the bone.

Grave Encounters (2011)

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  1. Dont you mean Rod SERLING??

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