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SF&F Nexus - Grave Encounters (2011) - Film review

Product: Grave Encounters (2011)

Title: Grave Encounters

Series: Grave Encounters

Product type: Film, Genre: Horror, Style: Found footage, handheld camera (shaky cam), bad editing, ghosts

Release: 2011.06.01

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 30s, Taste: Immersive, logical

Watched: very recent (2017.06), first view

Quality: Bad (1 out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Very bad (1- out of 3 points)

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Review (spoiler-free)

Grave Encounters (2011) is a found footage horror movie.

It begins pretty weak, but it improves. The quality and tempo of this movie is constant.

My experience

Due to the weak beginning, I lost interest after the first five minutes. I didn't enjoy any part of the movie.

Will you enjoy this?

If you get through the first 5 or 10 minutes without rolling your eyes, you might enjoy the film.

If you can get through the first half hour still interested, from then on it gets into gear, and you might even love this.

Watching for plot points

If you are only watching this because you are curious whether it has some interesting scary background story - it doesn't. It's the usual jumpscare ghost story without any explanation.

Do you need to see the second film to enjoy this?

The film has a self-contained story. You might watch Grave Encounters 2 (2012) if you liked this, as it's a continuation of this story, but it's a very different film. Also, it doesn't add anything to the story of Grave Encounters (2011).

SF&F Nexus - Grave Encounters (2011) - Film review

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Review with spoilers

One of my main problems was that this film lost me immediately. To be immersed in a movie, you have to believe it, even if you need to suspend your disbelief. It's especially true for horror movies, as you must get into a mood to be scared. However Grave Encounters sets up a background story, and it begins with the producer of the company filming a preview for this movie, telling us how they produced several television series before, and they were filming the sixth episode of the new series, when something happened to the crew.

All the while he tells this, a totally amateur camera operator looks like he is trying the camera settings, switching focus, and tries to find out whether or not his handheld camera auto-corrects to horizontal when it gets tilted (it doesn't). This shows to me the studio 1) doesn't care about the whole production, 2) they are so amateurs they couldn't have made a single episode, not series of shows.

The producer tells us they have about 70 hours of footage, that is not doctored, and only edited for timing reasons. Then the actual footage begins, with questions like "is this on?", and the crew trying to come up with a good introduction to the sixth episode, and this goes on for a couple of minutes. Really? They got 70 hours of scary stuff, screaming, running, and this is what the studio thought was the most interesting thing that must be included in the footage? What kind of retards run this studio?

Well, those kinds of retards who'd hire a crew like the one the film stars. The cameraman can't handle a single shot without losing focus, zooming something out of sight or blowing someone's face through the screen, and the show host can't seem to finish a sentence without getting distracted. Although I'm not a fan of paranormal reality shows, I can't believe any tv station would order even one episode done by this crew. While you could edit the bumbling host, the digital doctoring required to create something visually tolerable from the footage would require so much time or money that it wouldn't worth it.

So by the time the story starts to unfold, I completely lost my belief in everything that would happen later.

Possibilities of improvement

Probably a heavy cutting of the film could make it more tolerable. However if I'd cut the irritating parts out of the first half hour, I'd lose most of the parts that build up the tension.

How it could have been better?

I'm pretty sure the camera work was intentionally bad. Considering the previous works of the camera crew I'm also pretty sure that they would have achieved a semi-amateur looking effect without any additional work. And that would have been all that would have made it an average film.

SF&F Nexus - Grave Encounters (2011) - Film review

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Sources

IMDB: Grave Encounters (2011): Database article.

WikiPedia: Grave Encounters: Database article.

Box Office Mojo: Grave Encounters: Database article about the revenue.

Metacritic: Grave Encounters (2011): Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: Grave Encounters (2011): Database article.

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Have you seen the Grave Encounters film? How do you like it? Would you recommend it to others? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!

 

 

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