Thursday, 21 March 2013

15 Second Review: Grave Encounters 2 (2012)

Grave Encounters 2 exhibited many signs of promise during its run time. There are a couple of effective moments. Of note are some of the intercuts to footage from the first Grave Encounters film, and the sequence featured on the promotional poster (left), in which the filmmakers utilise the supernatural by offering sudden, unexpected action.
That said, these moments are equally indicative of the film's central weaknesses. Principally, the filmmakers do not settle on what the film's aims are, and as a result Grave Encounters 2 lacks identity. One minute the script contains explicit reflection on supernatural found footage films such as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. Moments later, key incidents from those films are summarily ripped off. The event depicted in the film's poster campaign is one part Rec, one part Paranormal Activity, for instance. Since these influences are so apparent, the overt commentary on found-footage contained in the script come across as apology more than reflexivity. At times, Grave Encounters 2 is closer to Scary Movie 5 than it is Paranormal Activity. The methodology is certainly not as "clever" as the script-writers seem to believe it is. In fact, these intertextual bridges muddies the work the filmmakers put into creating a legacy for their own Grave Encounters franchise.
Moreover, in the climax, unconvincing CG camcorders float around in a bid to excuse abandoning the found-footage shooting methodology. For that reason, the climax was alienating rather than exciting.
In sum: some cheap scares, some shoddy acting, and some wasted moments. The film feels more like an advert for a Universal Studios theme park "experience" than a horror movie.

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