Grave Encounters (2011) starring Ben Wilkinson, Sean Rogerson, Ashleigh Gryzko, Merwin Mondesir

Encounters of the Tame Kind

Would be TV presenter Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) sends promo reels for a show called "Grave Encounters", a ghost-hunting reality television show, to a producer and the 6th reel where Preston and his crew plan to spend 8 hours locked inside the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital where rumours of hauntings and paranormal activity is suppose to take place. But it soon seems that the rumours are in fact truth as they find themselves terrorized by ghosts who have no plans of letting anyone out alive.

Yes we are in the realms of found footage with "Grave Encounters" a genre which I have mentioned before I do not care for and can count on a single hand the number of these movies which actually work. And when "Grave Encounters" started I had that sense of foreboding that this was another one which was going to suck when the whole thing is introduced to us by a producer who says he received the promo tapes from Lance including the sixth which immediately makes you wonder how he could get the sixth reel. It is one of the tricks used to keep you watching.

But after an ominous opening "Grave Encounters" lifts your spirits as it brings in a certain amount of parody to proceedings as we have Lance interviewing people from experts to caretakers whilst also paying a gardener to give a fake account of a ghost. It isn't full on comedy but it certainly takes a few swipes at this sort of ghost hunting reality show especially when we meet paranormal expert Houston Gray. And as it is in the style of one of these ghost hunting reality shows we have the night vision footage and so on.

What this all really means is that "Grave Encounters" works on two things; how much it manages to suck you in to what is going on and how well it scares you when the frights start to come. Well for a while it manages to draw you in, toying with you with scenes where it would be easy to deliver a fright too soon. Unfortunately when the frights start to come they are disappointing, leaving you feeling under whelmed by it all as you expected something more than a wheelchair moving seemingly on its own whilst someone's hair also seems to have been moved by something paranormal. But they don't scare you and in failing to deliver the frights it screws up the atmosphere.

What this all boils down to is that "Grave Encounters" reminds me of birthdays as a kid, a lot of anticipation and then when the day arrives you end up disappointed. As such for all the entertaining build up the level of the frights is simply disappointing.