Even though the first Grave Encounters film was met with average to good reviews, I must admit it didn't blow me over. Well it's a Sunday night with nothing better to do for a couple of hours so I thought I would at least give the sequel a chance. The first half of the film is filled with drab acting, uninspiring characters and a bit of a cop out when it seems were heading in the same direction as the original (literally), to the same place where the first film took place.
The plot is kept simple (as with most POV films), a film student desperate to make it to the big time who is obsessed with the original movie sets out with a group of his friends to 'prove' that the original wasn't a fake at all. Once we get past the standard padding and development I did find myself becoming interested in what was happening, surprising really as the first didn't manage to capture my interest in the slightest. When the group finally gain entrance, illegally, to the abandoned asylum I did get submerged somewhat and was caught a bit off guard when the proverbial did hit the fan, it was a little tense and I put myself in their shoes! I would of needed new underwear on multiple occasions!
The biggest and most damaging thing however about GE2 is that some of its scenes are that utterly ridiculous that the film loses its credibility instantly! It went from tension building to stupidity in the flick of a switch and it completely killed the film. From then on nothing was scary, the friends get picked off but who cares.
It's clear to see that Grave Encounters has taken its inspiration from paranormal shows, in particular Ghost Adventures, and what makes GA good (although it's a cheese fest) is that seeing nothing is more scary than seeing an 8foot CGI naked ghost run after you. Let's be honest an abandoned insane asylum is the PERFECT setting for a horror film, where are the subtle scares, the atmosphere, the eerie noises and whispers through the corridors? I do have a vivid imagination and do find that I can scare myself when sometimes there's nothing to be scared about but seriously if I can't see something that can literally make me shit my own pants, but I can see the wobbly dickhead tearing walls down, I'll take the wobbler every time!
In all fairness a couple of the early death scenes are memorable and the jumpy scares did do their job, it's just a shame that the direction was to get as far away from that angle as possible. There are a couple of pretty gruesome scenes which always seem to look more raw when shot in POV but they are too few and too far apart. Things go from bad to worse as we get to the finale, it doesn't fit in with the rest of the film at all and is by far the most ridiculous scene we have to put up with, the 'Evil Dead 2'esque' portal which opens is just an awkward moment in the film, especially when just before the credits roll the lead actor and the producer of GE1 are stating that both films are fake. The fuck? What was the whole point then?
Overall GE2 started off a dribbly mess but did start to pick up the pace when the team finally got to their hotel for the night! The asylum! But the joy is short lived and the dribbly first half is repeated in what can only be described as ridiculous cinema for the second. A more subtle approach would of gone wonders with the setting but it wasn't to be. If you enjoyed the first film you will probably find interest in knowing what happened to the first films cast.