A group of film students obsessed with the film Grave Encounters travel to the hospital where it was shot to document the making of the movie as well as investigate if it is genuinely haunted or not. They learn the hard way that sometimes art imitates life.
As with the first film, this sequel steals from every other movie out there to tell its story. Here it’s the basic idea behind Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows in which The Blair Witch Project is just a movie and a group of unstable people take it a bit too seriously and check out where it was made. Bad shit happens to them all. I couldn’t believe how blatant the plagiarism was when Grave Encounters 2 began as it’s a shot for shot carbon copy with almost the exact same dialogue and set up. Pathetic.
Nearly 30 minutes into the movie the film students finally make their way to the insane asylum where Grave Encounters was shot (creative way to save some money, just reuse the exact same sets as before) and it begins treading familiar ground. I was almost about to turn it off due to sheer boredom but then a genuinely effective scare hit. And then another. And another. And another. I couldn’t believe how fast the jolts came and how many decent ones they managed to cram into a fifteen minute period. Shit, the image of seeing that pale white, slack jawed ghoul come racing after the characters still has my goosebumps in overdrive. I couldn’t believe that I was actually beginning to enjoy this turd! And then it had the sheer audacity to… do something original.
I won’t ruin the surprises, but out of left field this flick pulled a fast one on me and really grabbed my attention. It went to a place that I wasn’t expecting and managed to do it in a relatively evenhanded way…
And then it went back to poopsville again and presented a twist that was so goddamn ridiculous that it basically stripped away any amount of props I was about to throw in this flick’s direction, and to add insult to injury it keeps piling on the dookie until the end.
This time The Vicious Brothers (Collin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz) only wrote the screenplay. They handed over the directorial duties to music video vet and first time feature helmer John Poliquin. While he does lend a bit more energy and character to the proceedings, he really can’t do anything about the shoddy script which impedes him from gaining ground at every turn. He did manage to give me the chills, unlike his benefactors.
The actors, led by Richard Harmon and Leanne Lapp, are a little less likable than the characters in the previous film, and those folks were detestable! The script’s greatest fault is that it isn’t filled with identifiable and relatable people. Without that the audience has no one to root for and invest in. I hope that if there is a third film that the Bros will have learned from their mistakes and give us at least one character that isn’t a complete asshat.
You know what? Fuck it. This movie is almost a year old so I’m throwing the spoiler shit out the window. You know what really killed this movie? It has to be something epic for me to throw caution to the wind like this, but it is so fucking stupid that I felt like bashing my head against the wall. So here we go…
Once the two remaining characters, who thought they were out of the asylum and back in the real world, find that they are still trapped in the hospital they encounter the last survivor from the first movie – the lobotomized Grave Encounters host Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) who has been trapped inside for nine years. Nine years?! This movie takes place one year after the original! Whatever. It turns out that Lance is in cahoots with the evil spirits and is carrying out their wishes in exchange for a means to escape their grasp. So once Lance separates from the other characters and ventures out on his own the conundrum must have hit the screenwriters… how do we still tell his side of the story if he has no camera? Their answer – have the ghosts film him! That’s right. The ghosts follow him around invisibly holding the camera equipment in what is one of the dumbest and most unintentionally funny developments I’ve ever seen. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Even though I did manage to eek some entertainment value out of at least twenty minutes of this flick’s runtime, it still ended up being a reeking pile of Fraggle shit. While it is slightly better than the first film that isn’t saying much. Fuck this franchise. Fuck it right in the ear.