Monday, April 1, 2013

Grave Encounters 2 (2012)

Grave Encounters 2 (Canada/USA, 2012) - Color, Director(s): John Poliquin
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Approx. 95 min.

Z-rating: 2 out of 5 stars for only being mildly entertaining

Cheese Factor: 4 out of 5 stars for trying to pass the first movie off as "real"

I reviewed the first film as part of "Found Footage Week" that I dedicated the first week of Halloween to last year. I was really surprised by the film because I hadn't heard much about it before I found it during my research and was about ready to write it off as rubbish. As it turns out, aside from a few CGI effects that were thrown in and really sticks out like a sore thumb, the movie was actually decent. They built up just enough back story to give them a good reason to be there. They had a fantastic cast that played their parts really well. Even though I didn't believe that everything I was seeing was really happening, it served as a great haunted house type of movie. So of course, I was ecstatic to hear that they were coming out with a sequel. I never got around to watching it until recently....

This movie fails where the first one succeeded. Instead of a charismatic character in front of the camera, this time we've got an emo Edward Cullen-lookin' motherfucker that spends most of his time sulking in front of it. He starts off as a vlogger who just finishes rating the first Grave Encounters but is also trying to film a movie with his friends. Someone contacts him on Youtube and gives him a mysterious hint that the movie might've been real. From there, Edward starts obsessing over the movie, trying to prove to everyone that it's real. (I know his name is Alex but I'm going to call him Edward)

So Edward convinces the rest of his friends to go on a crazy trip with him to the location where the first movie was filmed. After watching the movie multiple times at home and in the hotel room, they all set off to go prove the place is really haunted. Guess what happens? They get trapped in the house just like the first crew and they're killed off one by one. What gets me is where everyone starts flippin' out and asking "What's happening?? What's going on?!" when everything starts going ape shit on them. Like they didn't just finish watching the movie about a dozen times and was expecting something like this to happen.

"In the jungle, you must wait 'til the dice read five or eight."

In an attempt to tie-in to the first movie, they bring back the original main character, who apparently isn't dead and has just been living on a steady diet of sewer rats for about 9 years. The guy acts kinda like Robin William's character in Jumanji, when he comes back to the real world after living in the game for a few years and now has the knowledge needed to explain how everything works. This guy even made a map tracking the patterns of how the rooms change!

Okay. Looks like it's safe to go inside...

I think what breaks it for me is Richard Harmon (Edward). He just looks like some MTV reality star and I don't find him particularly believable in his role. Now, in all fairness, I don't know if it was his acting or the writing but I didn't care for him before they got into the house. I understand that he was supposed to be obsessing over this movie so much that it was tearing his personal life apart, but as we saw from the beginning, Edward was more into masturbating in his room than he was hooking up with this girl at a party. He stumbles onto a couple facts randomly and suddenly he's ready to throw everything he's got into figuring out what happened to the first Grave Encounters crew. They tried to throw a "twist" ending in but I saw it coming a mile away. This sequel was uninspired and did little to further the first film. This one had a lot of momentum going for it from the first film but falls totally flat.

Funny that they reference [REC] earlier, this scene looks really familiar.

Nudity: One thing that might've scored a few extra points for the film but nope. This movie fails in the T&A department as well.

Gore: Not much gore here. A lot of the bloody scenes are actually flashbacks to the first film. I can't remember anything particular bloody or gory about this one.

"Ghost Hunting" gear, guess they should've brought a Proton Pack!

Awesome: Not. At all. This movie had the stage perfectly set up for it. I liked that they tried to make the beginning more interesting as that's usually the most boring part of any "found footage" film but that wasn't enough to save it. I also liked that they tried to do whatever they could to make the first one seem real. I just feel like you either buy into it or you don't. Those of us that don't buy into it, are immediately drawn out of the movie and end up laughing at it more than screaming. This actually had me laughing more times than it had me saying "Oh shit!" when anything happened. The scene where the weird creature thing grabs the guy through the window made me laugh out loud when he screamed like a bitch. Any mood that the original set was completely destroyed with this movie. I was actually MORE interested in seeing the movie the characters were filming than this pseudo-documentary. This one fails to create any atmosphere of its own and ends up making a laughing stock out of the movie and this "franchise". I doubt there will be a Grave Encounters 3, but if it comes out, you know I'll be watching it!