Grave Encounters ('Harsh' Movie Review)

Director: The Vicious Brothers (Who now?)
Writers: The Vicious Brothers
Cast: Sean Rogerson, Juan Riedinger
Additional Information: 15 Certificate

Grave Encounters is a film that I hadn't heard of until a few weeks ago and a film that you probably won't have heard of either. It is also a film I don't want to hear about again. I got told this film was the scariest film someone had ever seen. I find this almost impossible to comprehend. And I was watching it with other people who thought the same as me, so it's not just me who thinks this.
I missed the first five minutes or so of the film but from what I can gather the group of twenty-somethings that make up the main characters are making documentaries for TV on 'haunted' houses. The film is shot on hand held cameras like other films of the found footage horror genre. So we learn that the group do not actually take the hauntings seriously and are just doing it as a way of making some easy money. Now as I mentioned, it was filmed on hand-held cameras and it would seem the camera man for the first half of the film had only discovered the zoom function five minutes before picking up the camera. The first twenty minutes or so are filled with the camera swaying and zooming in and out on the main character Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) as he interviews some people who have supposedly seen or heard something scary and paranormal.

This brings me nicely onto the acting. Whenever Lance is being filmed for footage that will be shown on the TV series he overacts and plays up for the camera. Which makes it very humorous at times. Sure, Sean is only acting like that as part of the character. But when Sean is acting as Lance outside of the TV footage his acting isn't really much better though. Merwin Mondesir as T.C is clearly trying to be some sort of stereotype no-nonsense guy, as you might be able to tell by his name. It really just ends up being quite annoying at times. The other characters in the film aren't much better acted, and that goes for the patient 'scary' person who shows up briefly and attacks Lance.

With that, I now move onto the make-up. The fake blood is so obviously fake. Especially when its splattering the camera. The contact lenses the patient wears are also way too obvious. There is some good make-up however, Sasha (Ashleigh Gryzko) wakes up with the word 'HELP' scratched across her back and it is quite convincingly done. Now let's move onto the special effects, of which there is little, and when there is, they aren't very special. Inanimate objects fly around a few times and it's all done fairly well. The camera is always conveniently dropped just before we get to scrutinise the movement. But at one point the characters is 'picked up' shaken around for a bit then tossed five feet or so. Let's just say me and my friends were all laughing a lot about how it was done.

So in summary this film is bad. The acting is not very good, the story is boring and clich├ęd, and the film just isn't scary. It ends up being more laughable than anything. And it takes too long for anything 'scary' to actually happen. I don't like to hate on a film but I could only find one redeeming feature about this film: the last name of an off-screen character who owned the haunted building was Friedkin. As in William Friedkin, director of the Exorcist (funnily enough a film I'm writing a review for at the moment, expect to see it soon). That's the redeeming feature, it makes a reference to a good director. Wow. Avoid this low budget poor film at all costs, and watch out for arms that stick out of the walls!

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