Cast:Reese Alexander, Stephanie Bennett, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Richard Harmon, Howie Lai, Leanne Lapp, Meeshelle Neal, Dylan Playfair, Sean Rogerson
With the surprise success of the first movie, it didn't take long for an inevitable sequel to surface. I personally wasn't a huge fan of the former, but it had its positive aspects. Overall, I felt it was a decent effort that could've been better had it stayed true to its realistic approach in the first half. As for this sequel, it was another decent watch with many pros and cons, like its predecessor.
The storyline takes an interesting meta approach, starting off with a bunch of clips featuring people critiquing Grave Encounters, which is acknowledged here as just a movie. The story primarily focuses on one particular critic/aspiring filmmaker named Alex, who gave it a negative review. He's given a response to the review in the form of a clip that appears to be of Lance Preston (from the first movie) trapped in a room. Realizing he had never seen that footage before, he contacts the uploader of the video and asks where the clip came from. He's merely given a series of numbers as a reply.
The numbers turn out to be coordinates to the actual psychiatric hospital that they filmed the first movie at. This naturally sparks the interest of Alex, who soon becomes obsessed with discovering the truth behind the mysterious disappearances of the crew from the first flick. This obsession eventually leads him and his filmmaker friends back to the hospital where they're determined to document their journey through the abandoned facility in hopes of finding clues that'll prove Grave Encounters was more than just a movie.
The events in the flick unravel through the eyes of various different cameras, from webcams to some HD equipment that the leads lug around. This isn't really an issue until the shit hits the fan, and then we're given a lot of headache-inducing shaky camera antics. Also, much like the previous installment, this sequel doesn't actually kick into gear until around the half-way mark. Until then we witness Alex conduct interviews and follow clues that ultimately take them back to the abandoned hospital, so unless you're invested into the fact-finding in the first half, you might find it a little hard to get into. Luckily, once inside the building the pacing picks up and so do the scares (which were non-existent until then).
The biggest issue I had with the first film was its escape from reality and into cheesy supernatural territory, especially with some of the cheap effects that were applied to enhance the look of these spirits. Unfortunately that issue is ever so present here and while its predecessor had a large number of scares (especially towards the end) and seemed to focus on the ghosts that resided in the place, this pic had a minimal amount of scares and focused more on the hospital and how it's basically like a character unto itself.
Key aspects about the hospital and its incessant mind games are explored a bit more here, while a couple surprises are thrown at us towards the end. Although the ghosts weren't a main focus, there were still a couple creepy parts. One in particular (and probably my favorite scene in the movie) was a short one that involved the spirit of a freaky young girl running after the crew. In the end, my feelings towards this sequel weren't much different than the previous effort, but I think I'm partial to the first since its premise was more interesting and the scares were better.
Having watched this sequel I can't say I'm really too pleased or disappointed with the effort. Much like its predecessor, it has its pros and cons and I ultimately felt like it was a decent installment in the found footage sub-genre and nothing more. Fans of the first pic will likely enjoy this to a certain extent, especially since aspects of the hospital are explored more, but its lack of effective scares and overuse of CG was a bit of a let down. Regardless, if you liked the first flick then give this a look.
|Posted on September 30, 2012 - 8:12pm | FrighT MasteR|