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John’s Horror Corner: Grave Encounters 2 (2012)

March 4, 2013

MY CALL:  I came into this expecting the worst.  Online reviews were NOT favorable.  However, if you enjoyed part 1 you should enjoy this as well, although a little less.  [B-]  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCHGrave Encounters (2011) and The Last Exorcism (2010).  FILMING STYLE: Grave Encounters 2 continues the found footage, first person POV filming style; shaky and candid.

YouTube horror critic and college student Alex (Richard Harmon; Trick ‘r Treat, Bates Motel), who looks like Robert Pattinson less a few good-looking genes, sets out to make a great horror film.  During his endeavors, our freshman director receives some strange emails from a anonymous source with videos that seem to be “extra” scenes from the movie Grave Encounters.  Alex then believes that the events of Grave Encounters “really happened” and decides to prove it on film along with his friends Trevor (Dylan Playfair), Tessa (Stephanie Bennett), Jared (Howie Lai; Supernatural, Fringe) and Jennifer (Leanne Lapp; Zombie Punch), who looks a bit like Amy Adams.
OMG.  Soooo Robert Pattinson and Amy Adams, right?

The documentarians try to track down Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson; Grave Encounters, Underworld: Evolution), the host of Grave Encounters, to discover that he has not been heard of since filming Grave Encounters.  To get to the bottom of it all, they all decide to go to the abandoned hospital where Lance Preston and his team was last seen.  The dynamic: Trevor and Jared do most of the camera work, Tessa just seems to sit around and “look pretty,” and Alex has a crush on Jennifer.

They sneak onto the property from Grave Encounters and, like the original Grave Encounters team, they set up cameras in the old asylum which is now peppered with police crime scene tape.  From this point, Grave Encounters is basically re-imagined with a new crew and a slightly different goal, but the same sets.  Their documentarians recap the events from Grave Encounters and then semi-duplicate the original team’s actions, encounter the same situations and similar things happen to them.  In some ways, it almost feels like a remake/re-imagining for  a portion of the film.

The story suffers toward the end as Grave Encounters 2 tries to tie together elements from both movies.  But I didn’t let that ruin the movie for me.  The whole product was a few steps down from the quality of the original, but I enjoyed it for all the same reasons.

Most damning to the story was that once Alex and his crew decide that the Grave Encounters footage is real, they never once acknowledge that means that ghosts exist!  They’re simply hellbent on proving that the footage is real.  Even when they arrive to the site where it all happened, they’re in no way concerned about the poltergeists they saw kill some of the crew on camera in Grave Encounters!!!  But, like the original, the movie is funny, decently acted, sets a creepy mood and has its share of scares.

In the past I’ve mentioned unwarranted sequels that nobody expected or maybe didn’t even want.  The kinds of releases that provoke reactions like “they made a sequel to that?”  Such sequels include The Last Exorcism 2 (2013), Insidious 2 and Sinister 2.  Like Grave Encounters, they all tell an entire story and end with an appropriate twist.  One could even argue that to sequel them would be to simply reiterate, go through the motions, or re-imagine the original.  When they don’t do that and aim for originality, then things can really get FUBARed.

That did not happen here.  While a B-version of the original, Grave Encounters 2 entertained me and even did so when I came in with bad expectations.

Give this film a chance.  It may shock you, too.

Grave Encounters 2 Banner

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