Grave Encounters 2 (2013)

Grave Encounters 2 is a mixed-bag of decent scares, disturbing imagery, infuriating character-work and an incredibly dull first act. Building on the mythos of the original, the occasionally self-referential, self-knowing, tongue-in-cheek attitude will amuse some but might aggravate others. For fans of the original, this is certainly worth a watch, but newcomers are better off avoiding it until they fall in love with Grave Encounters 1.

Grave Encounters was just a film. At least that’s what the “filmmakers” want you to believe. But in ‘real life’ film student Alex Wright (Richard Harmon) is contacted by an anonymous source who claims the entirety of Grave Encounters was actually FACT! Apparently the evil film execs covered it up, slapped the footage together, added sound and packaged as a found footage horror, claiming some interns called ‘The Vicious Brothers’ made it.

At first Alex doesn’t believe this obvious piffle, but slowly ‘evidence’ leads him and his filmmaking friends to the asylum… and straight through the doors of hell.

The major misstep for Grave Encounters 2 is the expositional opening which strings out character introductions far too long, with Alex attempting to film his ‘opus’.

Over 35 minutes in and there isn’t ONE singular scare, which makes it for incredibly tiresome viewing. It expands the universe wonderfully for any die-hard Grave Encounters fans, although it could be considered a little self-indulgent (especially if you’re new to it).

Once they get to the asylum, however, Grave Encounters 2 explodes and recreates the thrills and horror of the original. There are some genuinely unnerving moments, some brilliant scares and some images that’ll stick in your mind for days afterwards.

One question, though: why can nobody make LIKEABLE characters in horror films?! Why not?! Our main characters are introduced as masturbating, narcissistic, self-involved, drug-taking, sex-obsessed twats who enjoy hanging their balls on the faces of their sleeping friends (and putting the photos on Facebook!). Again, if you can get past this you’ll have a ball – but some might find our protagonist Alex disc-snapping loathsome.

There are unfortunately a couple of face-palm moments, especially towards the end, but mostly it’s either strangely believable or knowingly silly. Some people will also be irritated by some genuine mistakes dotted throughout, but if you let go and simply enjoy the insane ride you’ll find it madly enjoyable (if not a little ridiculous).

Overall Grave Encounters 2 is a decent sequel that takes some bold choices, some which work and some which will leave audiences baffled and confused. It is terrifying in places, slow in others and has a sly, wry attitude that might put some people off. An enjoyable but flawed ride – but worth a watch.

[Also, some might find the 'mad rat-eating guy' a bit too much like Brian from Spaced… and once you realize it you'll constantly find him hilarious. Even though he's not supposed to be...]

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

One Comment on “Grave Encounters 2”

  1. Spot on review, dude! Caught this last night. You’re right – the opening was far too long, especially considering the characters were so unlikeable. I’m all for slow burns but if you’re gonna devote the first act to character exposition at least make the audience invest in the characters.

    Plus, by making Alex a film student with a penchant for horror, they opened themselves up to all sorts of criticism that I would have ignored had he not been. I died a little inside when he used the phrase ‘torture porn’…

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