Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > DVD Discussions > DVD Reviews and Recommendations
Reload this Page >

"Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

DVD Reviews and Recommendations Read, Post and Request DVD Reviews.

"Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Old 09-23-13, 02:04 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Chad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Somewhere Hot Scoville Units: 9,999,999 Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
Posts: 10,890
"Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28





Grave Encounters (2011)



Selected by clckworang



IMDB ENTRY

NETFLIX WATCH INSTANTLY
_______________________________________


These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags are unnecessary in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.
_______________________________________



SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS!









MAIN THREAD | LIST THREAD


Last edited by Chad; 09-27-13 at 05:42 PM.
Chad is offline  
Old 10-23-13, 02:57 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Spiderbite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 13,132
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

An extremely solid choice and very enjoyable film even though it is basically Blair Witch in an insane asylum. Even with it being almost the exact same framework and result, this was a lot of fun to watch, mainly because the main character was so charismatic in his cheesy, TV host way. I thought he really made the part believable and wasn't too hammy, even though many actors would probably have gone overboard with the part. The other actors were convincing as well.

I had grown tired of the "hand-held video camera" movies but I have watched this movie and V/H/S this month and have been extremely & surprisingly pleased. I look forward to watching the sequels to both of them.

My rating: **** out of *****
Spiderbite is offline  
Old 10-28-13, 01:51 AM
  #3  
Member
 
cproaps's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 102
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

This, and other movies like it, just goes to show you that you don't need some big, elaborate set up or budget to scare people. All you have to do is to tap into people's primal fears, such as the dark. Simple things like a window opening or a wheel chair creeping forward by themselves just set people on edge. Some a LOT more than others, which is why I wish I could have seen this in the theater. But, alas, these hand cam films start making me motion sick on the big screen after a bit. Too bad, because the Paranormal Activity movies, etc make for great crowd entertainment.

My favorite scene is near the end when the mist passes down the hall under the infrared. Lots of really spooky stuff going on, mainly when you can't see what is doing it. By the time we get to people in costume running toward the cameras, it gets almost laughably fake. Less is more.

I like the opening act, didn't care for the second where they are yelling and screaming at each other to kill enough running time to make it to the third, and liked the third where the spirits start taking out the crew.

If you want to watch the same story using traditional means and not the "found footage" gimmick, just watch Season 1 Episode 10 of Supernatural. It is really good.
cproaps is offline  
Old 10-28-13, 02:43 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 3,442
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

I want to like Grave Encounters more than I actually do. It's approach of investigators gung ho seeking the paranormal (rather than running from it, at first) seems to some up modern horror movies. Subtlety and tension is nice, but although it's botched here it's nice to see in your face horrors going for the gusto. Once it's clear the characters are doomed (circling hallways and stopped time) it seems like "grisly" attempts at transparent horror is the only path left. I think it's lame of found footage films to be so unfront about the outcome in advance, the Maniac remake using first person perspective seems like a good move to capture some found footage staples without broadcasting the end. Grave Encounters is so self-aware it makes the right moves in trying something different even if they are poorly executed with generic specters. I agree it gets tiresome listening to the actors yell at each other unable to emote outside of screaming profanity. The similarity to Blair Witch Project is alarming (and even the House on the Hill remake) but still altogether fun in a haunted house cheap scare fashion.

Charlatans getting their comeuppance never gets old.

If Lance Preston is told he can go home... why doesn't he?

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-28-13 at 01:17 PM.
Undeadcow is offline  
Old 10-28-13, 08:43 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Lost Highway
Posts: 1,117
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

I would have liked it a lot more if they stayed away from the cartoonish clown heads. That first mental chick was plenty scary enough without turning into an Edvard Munch painting. The concept was great, though. And the reveal of the doors with the "Death Awaits" was a great moment. But I couldn't help but wonder towards the end, how were all these tapes found?

Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
If Lance Preston is told he can go home... why doesn't he?
I took it as his death was him going home, or being freed.
Dick Laurent is offline  
Old 10-28-13, 10:02 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Norm de Plume's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Toronto
Posts: 14,685
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

I thought it was generally a very effective movie of its kind. One of the aspects that always stretches credulity in films like this is the characters continuing to film when they are terrified, confused, or dead-tired. The same thing happens here, but I suppose it's forgivable. I liked the ending, but the last line of dialogue just about ruins the grim tone: "For Grave Encounters, this is Lance Preston." Unnecessary.
Norm de Plume is offline  
Old 10-29-13, 12:19 AM
  #7  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
rbrown498's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2,204
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

I absolutely loved the first half, but I felt that it really dropped the ball the second half. Grave Encounters was shaping up to be my favorite film of the Challenge, with a couple of excellent jump scares, but then the building starts to go all Winchester Mystery House on them and I quickly reinstated my disbelief. I agree with Dick above that adding demon faces to the ghosts really didn't help matters.

Still, I found it to be half of a very good movie.
rbrown498 is online now  
Old 10-29-13, 01:21 AM
  #8  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Lost Highway
Posts: 1,117
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Originally Posted by Norm de Plume View Post
...I liked the ending, but the last line of dialogue just about ruins the grim tone: "For Grave Encounters, this is Lance Preston." Unnecessary.
I liked that line. I think after watching this dude eat a rat in front of our eyes, then happen upon a mad surgeon's dungeon that just happened to have some sort of occult/alien alter, with a ghostly scene going on across the room. So the last line is just the cherry on top of a string of ridiculous.
Dick Laurent is offline  
Old 10-29-13, 01:32 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 3,442
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Sometimes I wonder if a movie is effective in it's own right, or if a creepy setting does most of the heavy lifting. I'd love someone to make a serious "haunted house" movie set someplace a little less automatically eerie as a hospital, like a daycare or grocery store.
Undeadcow is offline  
Old 10-29-13, 06:43 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Spiderbite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 13,132
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
Sometimes I wonder if a movie is effective in it's own right, or if a creepy setting does most of the heavy lifting. I'd love someone to make a serious "haunted house" movie set someplace a little less automatically eerie as a hospital, like a daycare or grocery store.
Oooo, daycare. Good idea. For some reason kid ghosts creep me out more than adults.
Spiderbite is offline  
Old 10-29-13, 09:37 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,782
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Originally Posted by Spiderbite View Post
...the main character was so charismatic in his cheesy, TV host way. I thought he really made the part believable and wasn't too hammy, even though many actors would probably have gone overboard with the part...
Agreed. I do hate the fake "ghost hunter" shows, but perhaps because of that, I liked this for poking deserved holes in them: bribing people to have 'seen' ghosts; fake psychics; etc. Coupled with an utterly-insane decision to, amidst the fakery, actually lock the doors for the night..!

Originally Posted by Spiderbite View Post
I had grown tired of the "hand-held video camera" movies...
What bothers me, and bothered me at the beginning of this one, is that so many filmmakers seem to think it's important to "prove" the amateur nature of things by having a cameraman who can't aim straight, lots of jerking and shaking, and so on and so forth. Even amateurs can sometimes hold a camera steadier than that..

I also rolled my eyes at the framing sequence: a) how did they get the footage, b) statements like "you'll have to make your own mind" only ring true if there's ambiguity. What's ambiguous about terrifying ghosts and people being drowned by water sprites..?! Where's the ambiguity in things appearing out of nowhere and people dying and disappearing...?
ntnon is offline  
Old 10-29-13, 09:43 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,782
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
Sometimes I wonder if a movie is effective in it's own right, or if a creepy setting does most of the heavy lifting. I'd love someone to make a serious "haunted house" movie set someplace a little less automatically eerie as a hospital, like a daycare or grocery store.
I agree, but have to wonder if most of the eeriness doesn't come from a) the time of day (i.e. night) and b) the death and misery that have led to the haunting.

If there are ghosts, there almost necessarily has to have been death in the past. So a daycare would probably become automatically terrifying if it's been the scene of murder or deaths...
ntnon is offline  
Old 10-29-13, 10:25 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Legend
 
DaveyJoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Maryland
Posts: 18,504
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

I watched this one earlier in the year, and enjoyed it, but worried that it wouldn't hold up to a second viewing. I was right and wrong, the things I liked about it were fine, but the things that bothered me were even more annoying. First of all, I don't typically like a lot of found footage movies, but I thought this was one of the more interesting ones. I liked that the characters in this movie actually had a purpose, as opposed to something like Paranormal Activity where the characters were completely passive and just lying around in bed waiting to be possessed.

The first hour of the movie is pretty creepy, and most of that is thanks to the setting of the abandoned mental hospital. It's not as good as Session 9 when it comes to general atmosphere and spookiness, but it has its moments. The lead character Lance Preston is easily the best, and he has great hair, while the others range from forgettable to down right annoying. The dialogue is just plain lazy, too often relying on profanity as a crutch. You could make a drinking game out of how many times TC says "what the fuck." It's much more annoying on a second viewing and it makes me wonder how much dialogue was actually written and if the directors just let the actors improvise while wandering through the creepy sets.

I agree with others that the faces of the ghosts was a bad decision by the directors. They looked cartoonish and that took me out of the movie and nearly ruined a lot of scenes that should have been scarier. A film with such a low budget shouldn't rely on CGI for such crucial elements and should stick with practical effects. When it comes to horror movies, creepy looking people in make-up with proper lighting have scared me far more often than CGI effects.

It's a shame because the first hour is so promising and enjoyable, the actual look of the ghosts undermine all of the suspense that was previously built up. The final act is surprisingly slow, especially considering how predictable the ending is. However, this was definitely worth a watch, and pretty entertaining despite its flaws, and I'd gladly watch this over any Paranormal Activity movie.

For those wondering, the sequel is pretty underwhelming. Whereas this movie went to the Asylum almost immediately, the second movie takes its sweet time getting there and has a lot of unnecessary filler to pad the runtime. By the time the characters get to the Asylum, I was dozing off and didn't even care anymore.
DaveyJoe is offline  
Old 10-29-13, 01:29 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
rbrown498's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2,204
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
I also rolled my eyes at the framing sequence: a) how did they get the footage, b) statements like "you'll have to make your own mind" only ring true if there's ambiguity. What's ambiguous about terrifying ghosts and people being drowned by water sprites..?! Where's the ambiguity in things appearing out of nowhere and people dying and disappearing...?
Speaking of rolling one's eyes at things, the "historical footage" didn't just take me out of the movie; it picked me up by my collar and belt and threw me forcefully. It's bad enough that everyone in the footage has black greasepaint smeared around their eyes, making them look like raccoons, but the worst of it was the patient who was watching television. That particular television model couldn't have been made before the early 1960s, and even if it had been available, there were fewer than 10,000 TV sets in the US prior to WWII (the onscreen caption says that the footage came from 1939-1942, IIFC), and I really, really doubt that one of them was in a patient ward of a mental hospital.

Nothing takes me out of a movie faster than an anachronism.
rbrown498 is online now  
Old 10-30-13, 04:10 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,435
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

It was an interesting film and I really enjoyed the acting/characters. The girl was cute, the black guy was funny, and the main guy had the charismatic dorky personality. I now know what others were talking about with VHS having the hands and taking it from this film. It also had a Blair Witch Project type feel with them going around and not being able to find a way out and the main guy looking into the camera and talking and crying. I did get bugged out by the CGI in this, but that was their "bread and butter" as I believe the second film's cover had the CGI face. Wasn't a huge fan of the final reveal where it turns out the doctor performed illegal practices (way overplayed) but a good film to watch and enjoy.
jacob_b is offline  
Old 10-30-13, 09:18 AM
  #16  
DVD Talk Legend
 
DaveyJoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Maryland
Posts: 18,504
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Originally Posted by jacob_b View Post
I now know what others were talking about with VHS having the hands and taking it from this film.
The hands coming out of the wall scare goes as far back as 1965 to Roman Polanski's Repulsion. It was far more effective in that movie as well. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it, it's one of my favorite psychological horror movies.
DaveyJoe is offline  
Old 10-30-13, 02:46 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Norm de Plume's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Toronto
Posts: 14,685
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

The geriatric psychic dude with the rug/bad dye job looked a bit like Tom Waits or Morton Downey Jr.
Norm de Plume is offline  
Old 11-02-13, 11:30 AM
  #18  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
clckworang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: The toe nail of Texas
Posts: 7,306
Re: "Grave Encounters" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 28

This was my pick, and it occurred to me that I hadn't yet commented on it. This was a first-time view for me, but one I had heard a lot about so figured it was one I needed to see.

Overall, I thought it was OK. It had its moments and was often very creepy. For some reason, what really bothered me was the way the building changed and began to defy the laws of time and physics. I don't know. I think I would have liked it more if it really had been one night rather than who knows how many days. And the fact that it became literally impossible to leave the place made me wonder as I watched how the video tapes ever made it out of there. There were just things that sort of bothered me.

I'm still happy I finally saw it and did enjoy it on some level, though I do agree with the Blair Witch comparisons.
clckworang is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.