Grave Encounters

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Grave Encounters
Grave-Encounters-Poster-2011.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byThe Vicious Brothers
Produced by
  • Shawn Angelski
  • Michael Karlin
Written byThe Vicious Brothers
Starring
Music byQuynne Craddock
CinematographyTony Mirza
Edited byThe Vicious Brothers
Production
company
  • Darclight
  • Twin Engine Films
  • Digital Interference Productions
Distributed byTribeca Film
Release date
  • June 1, 2011 (2011-06-01)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryCanada
LanguageEnglish
Budget$120,000
Box office$5.4 million[1]

Grave Encounters is a 2011 Canadian found footage supernatural horror film. 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 Colin 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. The trailer for Grave Encounters is considered a viral sensation, generating over 30 million views.

Despite its mixed reviews, the film was a box office hit,[1] spawning a sequel in 2012.

Plot[edit]

Jerry Hartfield is the producer of Grave Encounters, a reality television program directed by ghost hunter Lance Preston. Hartfield explains that the show was cancelled after five episodes following the disappearance of its crew, and presents raw scenes from recovered footage of the sixth and final episode. The Grave Encounters crew consists of Lance, occult specialist Sasha Parker, surveillance operator Matt White, cameraman T.C. Gibson, and fake medium Houston Grey. The crew is invited to examine the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, where unexplained phenomena has been reported for years. The hospital warden takes the crew on a day tour and informs them of the hospital's history, particularly of a doctor named Arthur Friedkin, who performed unethical experiments and lobotomies on the hospital's patients before being killed by them. The crew voluntarily lock themselves inside the hospital for the night and begin their investigation, setting up camp near the hospital's main entrance. No paranormal activity seems to occur within the first few hours of the investigation until a door slams behind T.C.. The crew attempts to establish contact with the invisible entities responsible for this demonstration, and the incidents soon become more flagrant and hostile.

The crew begins to repack in preparation for the warden unlocking the hospital. Matt goes to recover the cameras, but suddenly disappears. The other crew members spend several hours searching for Matt without success, and the warden has not yet returned. The crew forces the front doors open, but discover that they lead to another hallway, as well as to other false exits. The crew also notes that it is still nighttime outside the building when their clocks indicate that it is well past morning. In their continued search for Matt and an exit, the crew encounters a girl whose face demonically distorts. As the crew flees in fear, Houston is separated from the others and is strangled to death by an invisible force. When the crew catch their breath, they discover that they have been fitted with hospital identification bracelets bearing their names. The crew eventually find Matt, wearing a hospital gown and having gone mad; he mumbles nonsense about his apparent mental disorders, and explains that the only means of escape is to be "cured" by the hospital's residents.

T.C. is pulled into a blood-filled bathtub by a ghost and disappears, while Matt throws himself down an elevator shaft as Lance and Sasha are attacked by a demon. Lance and Sasha enter the tunnels in search of an exit. Sasha falls ill and is abducted by a mist as she and Lance sleep. The terrified and unstable Lance wanders the tunnels alone and feeds on live rats to survive. He finds a door leading into Friedkin's operating room, which contains an altar and evidence of satanic rituals and black magic. He turns to see the apparitions of Friedkin and several nurses, who drag the screaming Lance to an operating table. The camera cuts out for a few moments before it is turned back on by a lobotomized Lance, who proclaims that he is cured and allowed to leave.

Cast[edit]

  • Sean Rogerson as Lance Preston
  • Ashleigh Gryzko as Sasha Parker
  • Merwin Mondesir as T.C. Gibson
  • Mackenzie Gray as Houston Grey
  • Fred Keating as Gary Crawford
  • 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
  • Max Train as Punk Guy
  • Marita Eason as Punk Girl

Production[edit]

Grave Encounters was filmed in Riverview Hospital, a mental institute in Coquitlam, British Columbia. It has been the location for a number of other television and film-based productions.[2] The film was produced in collaboration with American Express, Digital Interference, Twin Engine Films and Darclight.[3]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 67% based on 15 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 5.47/10.[4] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 33 out of 100, based on 4 reviews, indicating "Generally unfavorable reviews".[5]

The New York Press called it the "Scariest Film Since The Ring".[6]

Don Sumner of the Horror Freak News gave the film a 3 out of 5, praising its visuals and even stating that it's a mix of Paranormal Activity and reality TV.[7]

Nick Schager of Slant Magazine gave the film 1.5 out of 4, comparing it to The Last Exorcism but criticized its attempt on parodying Ghost Hunters-style reality TV program.[8]

Felicity Burton of the Scream Horror Magazine criticized repetition of scenes and bad CGI, but saying that it sort of is a good found footage.[9]

Jeannettte Catsoulis of The New York Times said the film is beating a dead horse, citing films such as Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, adding that there is nothing new in this film.[10]

Sequels[edit]

Grave Encounters 2 was released on October 2, 2012.[11] It was directed by John Poliquin, and was written by The Vicious Brothers.[12][13] On May 6, 2015 The Vicious Brothers announced a prequel entitled Grave Encounters: The Beginning.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Box Office Mojo". Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "Movies Filmed at Riverview Hospital". Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Dennis Harvey (May 24, 2011). "Grave Encounters". Variety.
  4. ^ "Grave Encounters (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  5. ^ "Grave Encounters Details and Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Reiss, Jon (April 28, 2011). "Catching Up With The Vicious Brothers". New York Press. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  7. ^ Don Sumner (June 9, 2016). "Grave Encounters (2011) Review". Horror Freak News. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  8. ^ Nick Schager (April 18, 2011). "Review: Grave Encounters". Slant.
  9. ^ Felicity Burton (May 7, 2015). "GRAVE ENCOUNTERS: Film Review". Scream Horror.
  10. ^ Jeannettte Catsoulis (September 8, 2011). "There's Something Odd About This Hospital". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  11. ^ Rob Caprilozzi (June 29, 2012). "Grave Encounters 2 release date". Horror New Network. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  12. ^ Scott A. Gray (March 21, 2013). "Grave Encounters 2 John Poliquin". Exclaim!.
  13. ^ Robert Bell (October 21, 2012). "Grave Encounters 2 John Poliquin". Exclaim!.

External links[edit]