Volume 4, Number 4 - October 29, 2013

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Kristopher Stoltz

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Paranormal Activity: Grave Encounters is a Canadian mockumentary consisting of so-called found footage from a ghost hunting reality show exploring an abandoned mental hospital. COURTESY OF WEST WING STUDIOS

Found Footage Gem Perfect For Halloween Horror Movie Night

By Kristopher Stoltz

The gimmick of found footage films seems to have recently come to a slumber. Some don’t like the technique because it relies simply on moving objects and ominous noises to scare you, others because of the headache-inducing shaky cameraman.

Finally there’s a movie that attacks this genre the right way. It’s called Grave Encounters, and it’s the paranormal activity movie you want to see.

Directed by the awesomely-named Vicious Brothers, it’s about a ghost-hunting reality TV shot crew from the late 1990’s, aptly called Grave Encounters, locking themselves up in an old abandoned hospital for the mentally insane.

Granted, this movie does follow the typical setups for the realistic found footage scares where half of the movie is all atmosphere. It takes that opportunity, however, to give character to the hospital and an idea of what you might see. Things go awry and these people are conflicted with the opportunity of their lives having too high of a cost. 

The characters all act like real people: knowing not to split up, not to fall asleep at the same time, and so forth. This makes it all the more surprising as even logical reasoning is not enough to save them from the traps that get pretty creative as the film goes along.

It’s also relaxing that you do get answers to your questions by the end of the film, so you don’t feel screwed at the end.

With inventive scares, a convincing set up, and still cameras that don’t make you dizzy, Grave Encounters is a good indie film for Halloween and shows that the only thing scarier than what you can’t see, is when you actually see it.


Grave Encounters—2011—written and directed by The Vicious Brothers—starring Ben Wilkinson, Sean Rogerson, Ashleigh Gryzko—92 minutes

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