|Directed by||The Vicious Brothers|
|Produced by||Twin Engine Films
Digital Interference Productions
|Written by||The Vicious Brothers|
Matthew K McBride
|Music by||Quynne Craddock|
|Editing by||The Vicious Brothers|
|Studio||West Wing Studios|
|Distributed by||Tribeca Film Festival|
|Running time||95 minutes|
Grave Encounters is a 2011 Canadian-American mockumentary supernatural horror film, shot in the found footage style. The footage follows the crew of a paranormal reality television program who lock themselves in a haunted psychiatric hospital in search of evidence of paranormal activity as they shoot what ends up becoming their final episode.
Written and directed by The Vicious Brothers (Collin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz), the film premiered on April 22, 2011 at the Tribeca Film Festival and received mostly mixed reviews. The film was released on August 25, 2011 in select theaters using the Eventful Demand It and Video on Demand via Comcast. The film premiered internationally in Italy via distributor Eagle Pictures under the title ESP Fenomeni Paranormali on June 1, 2011.
Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the film has received a cult following and spawned a sequel in 2012. It was filmed in Riverview Hospital, a mental institute in Coquitlam, British Columbia.
The film begins with Jerry Hartfield (Ben Wilkinson) the producer of Grave Encounters, a famous ghost investigation television series. Jerry explains the premise of Grave Encounters and introduces the host, Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson). Preston explains that he started the TV series because he lived in a haunted house as a child and now he travels around the world looking for paranormal evidence. Hartfield explains that Grave Encounters was cancelled after the fifth episode, when the footage for episode six mysteriously went missing. The footage was finally recovered in 2010 and brought to Hartfield.
The film stars Lance Preston, Sasha Parker (Ashleigh Gryzko), an occult specialist, Matt White (Juan Riedinger), cameraman T.C Gibson (Merwin Mondesir) and Houston Grey (Mackenzie Gray). They were investigating the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital. For over 68 years, until the hospital was closed in 1963, an estimated 80,000 patients were treated. Since its closure, many instances of paranormal activity had been reported there.
The hospital's caretaker let the film makers into the locked building, through doors above which are inscribed 'Death Awaits'. The caretaker gives them a tour of the hospital, including an empty bathroom where a female patient committed suicide in a bathtub.
Later that night, the Grave Encounters crew set up their equipment and began an overnight surveillence while locked inside hospital. Splitting up to investigate, Lance's group unsuccessfully tries to contact the bathroom suicide girl. At 2:10 a.m, the team reconvenes in the lobby. All their equipment shows nothing unusual, except for a fourth floor camera which shows a locked window opening by itself, but none of the crew notices it. Later, cameraman T.C Gibson continued to film the hospital's corridors. Gibson is interrupted by his cell phone and while talking, misses a wheelchair moving by itself down the corridor. He feels a cold spot and enters a room, but is surprised when the door slams shut. Gibson assumes this was a prank, but after looking for someone from his team, he realizes he's alone. Gibson shows the footage to the rest of the team and they attempt to communicate with whatever made the door shut. They are unsuccessful, but Preston hears a loud bang coming from elsewhere. The team investigated the noise, entering into a room where the hospital trolley wheels spin by themselves. They then heard loud footsteps from the floor above. Sasha, decides to perform an EVP session upstairs. An unexplained noise is heard and some of Sasha’s hair is lifted by an unseen hand. Preston discovers apparitions and orbs in the pictures he took during this occurrence.
At 4:51 a.m, Preston tells Matt to gather all of the remaining cameras set around the hospital. White collects the night vision cameras, but when he reaches the fourth floor, he finds the window open. Sensing that this is important, White tries to contact Preston to investigate. He then hears a loud bang and goes to investigate.
At 5:32 a.m Preston notices that Matt is still gone, but is unsuccessful in reaching him on the radio. Parker thinks White is hurt somewhere in the darkness and she insists on looking for him. Preston and Gibson agreed, leaving Houston alone in the lobby. Preston, Parker and Gibson find White's equipment sprawled out on the fourth floor. The team decides to split up to find White as quickly as possible. While searching, Gibson climbs the stairs, but is startled by a loud noise and is pushed from behind. He is injured in the fall down the stairs and calls to the rest of the team, who take him to the lobby.
At 6:19 a.m, Gibson unsuccessfully tries to open the hospital's doors. He tries to call the groundskeeper but finds there is no cellphone reception. Suddenly, the doors open, but not to the outside. Instead, they lead to another hospital corridor. They find a new exit, but that, too, leads to another corridor. Confused and scared, Preston asks Parker what time it is. Parker finds that it is 8:34 a.m. Although the sun was to rise at 7:45 a.m, it was still dark outside. After finding no escape from the hospital, the team heads back to the lobby to try and sleep.
A loud crash wakes the team hours later. Preston tells everyone it is 8:00 pm, they had slept for seven hours. Lance opens the cooler to find all of the food had rotted and was infested with maggots, after only a few hours. Gibson has the idea of escaping using the fire escape. As the team walks the corridors they hear more loud bangs. Gibson locates the fire escape, but finds only a concrete wall behind the door. Suddenly, they hear screaming that could be the missing White. The team follows the screams to a room where a hospital bed is suspended in midair. Terrified, they hide in a different room. Preston explains to the camera that the corridors keep changing.
After falling asleep again, the team wakes up to find that the word 'HELLO' scratched into Parker's back. Preston then hears White on the radio, but it is cut off. The team realizes that White is alive somewhere in the hospital, and so they search for him once more. They see a distant shadow running down the corridor and thinking it is White, they follow it to another room. The figure is not White, but a girl standing and facing the corner. Preston attempts to talk to her, but she turns around and reveals a terrifying, screaming face. The team runs away, but Houston is left behind when flashlight dies. He is shown on one of the corridor cameras wandering around trying to find the others. Suddenly, he is hoisted into the air, semi-strangled and then dropped to the floor. When he tries to get up, a strange explosion sends his body flying violently down the corridor, killing him on impact.
Gibson, Parker and Preston hide in another room and realize that they now have patient I.D. wristbands. They decide to look for both White and Grey. Parker is grabbed by a ghostly hand which breaks through the window panel in a door behind her and soon feels weak. The team finds White in a room, wearing a hospital gown. White, who appears mentally unstable at this point, claims to know a way out of the hospital. To leave, the team just has to get better. Parker falls asleep and is again attacked by arms coming out of the walls. They flee and hide in the bathroom. Preston hears water dripping and sees the bathtub is now filled with blood. Gibson is grabbed by an blood-covered apparition and pulled into the tub. Parker and Preston immediately flip the tub over, but Gibson is gone.
Parker, White and Preston continue looking for an exit. They find an out-of-order elevator, but cannot open the door. Preston looks for something to pry open the door and encounters a tongueless patient. Preston escapes from the demon and manages to pry open the elevator. The patient then attacks Preston, but Parker helps keep the demon away. White leans forward to look down the elevator shaft and carries on leaning until he falls, committing suicide. The demon disappears, so Parker and Preston climb down a ladder to the bottom of the shaft and find that White is dead. Preston then pries open a door to a service tunnel. Later in the tunnel, Parker becomes violently sick and starts throwing up blood. Noticing that she could not keep up, Preston decides they should stop and rest.
A heavy mist covers them as they sleep in the tunnel. When the mist clears, Parker is gone. Preston is left alone in the dark. His mental health spirals out of control and he stops filming. Preston turns the camera back on after finding a door to an operating room. This was the secret operating room of Dr. Arthur Friedkin, who performed unethical experiments on Collingwood's patients. Preston finds pictures of patients being experimented on, along with pictures of the Grave Encounters team also being experimented on. Preston also finds evidence of satanic rituals and black magic which Friedkin performed. Preston then sees Friedkin and several nurses performing a lobotomy on one of the team members. Rushing forward, Preston trips on a skull and as he looks up, Friedkin is looking down on him. The camera then falls and Preston's screams before the camera cuts out. Again, the camera is turned back on, showing Preston is still alive, although his eye is bleeding from a lobotomy. Preston's final words were ‘He said I’m all better now. I can finally go home. For Grave Encounters, Lance Preston. Signing off.’ The camera then cuts out.
- Sean Rogerson as Lance Preston
- Ashleigh Gryzko as Sasha Parker
- Merwin Mondesir as T. C. Gibson
- Mackenzie Gray as Houston Grey
- Juan Riedinger as Matt White
- Arthur Corber as Dr. Arthur Friedkin
- Bob Rathie as Kenny Sandavol (Caretaker)
- Matthew K. McBride as Spiritual Force
- Ben Wilkinson as Jerry Hartfield
- Alex Timmer as The Tongueless Demon
- Eva Gifford as Demon Girl
- Michele Cummins as Bathtub Demon
- Shawn Macdonald as Morgan Turner
- Fred Keating as Gary Crawford
- Max Train as Punk Guy
- Marita Eason as Punk Girl
- Luis Jamer as Javier Ortega
Grave Encounters was filmed in Riverview Hospital, which has been the location for a many other television and film-based productions, and released on October 18, 2011 on DVD. The film came out for full digital download on iTunes on December 19, 2011.
Grave Encounters has received mixed reviews from critics. While the New York Press granted it the "Scariest Film Since The Ring", other reviews were not as favorable. The rating website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a "rotten" score of 50%.