Monday, October 15, 2012

Haunted hospitals should not be entered, ever!!


A little ways back I had the pleasure of watching and reviewing Grave Encounters, which (for those of you who might not remember) was about a reality show shooting one of their episodes inside a haunted hospital, with the expected result of people dying and scares aplenty.  Somehow it had escaped my radar until just recently that GE 2 was out, and of course I jumped on the chance to watch and review it as well.  Of course, it being nearly Halloween and all, horror is almost 100% of what I've been watching movie wise, so this flick fit in well with my current list.

So, on to the review.  I was immediately surprised to learn that Grave Encounters 2 isn't your standard sequel.  It takes place in what you would call the "real world", where the first GE was just a movie.  The sequel opens up showing a number of people doing vlogs reviewing GE, ranging from good reviews to negative.  I gotta say, I did enjoy this movie actually showing people talking about how the movie was terrible.  It's nice to see that the people behind the flick have a sense of humor and can handle a little criticism. 

Enter Alex, one of the vloggers at the start of the movie, and wannabe filmmaker.  After his review of Grave Encounters he receives a video response from a viewer called Deathawaits6, showing the star of GE, Lance Preston, in the hospital wearing a hospital gown.  Later on the same viewer gives Alex coordinates to the hospital where the movie was made.  After doing some research Alex learns that the real hospital has a similar history to the fictional one, and the cast of the movie have been missing for nine years (Even though Grave Encounters was released in 2011, it was the year 2003 in the movie's timeline).  Alex starts to become obsessed with the history of the movie, to the point of neglecting his own movie that he is trying to shoot.  After a revealing meeting with one of the producers of GE, Alex and four of his friends decide to go to the hospital and get proof that the events of  Grave Encounters are true.

Ok, let's start with the good points of the flick.  First, I personally enjoyed the idea of the sequel being in "real life", and the first GE being a movie, and yet having the events of the original be true.  Alex's growing obsession with the movie was believable, and the acting overall was decent enough.  The time in the hospital was pretty decent.  Not as many scares as in the first movie, but then again, Alex and friends didn't go into the hospital until the second half, so not as much time to deliver as GE 1.  But most of the scares were effective enough.  The ending was an unexpected turn in my opinion, but ultimately I did like it.  Boonsweet and I discussed the possibilities of another sequel, and we both concluded that a third part was possible, but options for the story were quite limited.

On to the negatives.  With a couple of exceptions, the first half of the time in the hospital was pretty much the same old routine as in the first movie.  That's a negative only if you didn't enjoy or get scared by the events of GE 1.  And in case you didn't pick up on it, in the positives paragraph I mentioned MOST of the scares were effective.  Earlier in the movie it's amusingly pointed out by a couple of people that the special effects (mainly the ghosts distorted faces) looked ridiculous.  And while I admit the facial effects in GE 1 were hit and miss (mostly hit in my opinion), in the sequel not only were a couple of the ghosts' faces bad looking, it was totally predictable when they went from the normal to distorted look, which was disappointing.

Also, this isn't a positive or a negative point, it's just a question.  Obsessed or not, if you were convinced that the events of Grave Encounters were true, why the hell would you want to go in the hospital, knowing full well you may not be able to leave?  Of course, if Alex and friends followed that logic, there wouldn't have been a Grave Encounters 2 now would there?

So, in the end, I enjoyed this flick.  The direction chosen for the sequel and the unexpected turn at the end met with my approval.  If any of you are going to (or already are) doing a horror fest for Halloween, make a point of looking into Grave Encounters 2.  Bucklesworth has spoken!!!

P.S.  My apologies for my absence with reviews lately.  It's fortunate that my fellow cohort Boonsweet is more than capable of picking up the slack. 

Movie scale: 3 out of 5 stars
Horror scale:  3 out of 5 stars

- Ken K. Bucklesworth, eager for Halloween


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