"I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontation."

- David Cronenberg

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December 22, 2012

Slash-Mess Day Ten: Grave Encounters (2011)

Do you wanna see something really scary? Really? Press play. Once.

Horror movies posing as documentaries are nothing new in Hollywood. For the past two decades film makers have been eager to capitalize on utilizing this genre within a genre as horror masquerading as "found footage" (see REC, Quarantine, Blair Witch Project)[0]. This is an accessible method of creating a sense of credibility then immediately bypassing the audience's ever-present skepticism.

This Vicious Brothers movie (funded by Tribeca Film) features Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) and the crew of "Grave Encounters", a Ghost Hunters type of reality television show, who plan to shoot an episode inside the spooky ol' abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital.

"American horror films have become increasingly safe and predictable.... the genre isn't taken seriously anymore. Our intention was to take things back to a time when horror films didn't play by the rules."
- The Vicious Brothers.

Collingwood is reputedly a place where unexplained phenomena has been reported for years since it's closing. In the name of Must-See-TV the crew locks themselves inside the building for a night to begin a paranormal investigation by capturing everything on camera.

The production crew quickly realizes that the building is more than just haunted - it's alive - and it has no intention of ever letting them leave.

In 2012, a significantly worse film written by The Vicious Brother was released as a sequel this time directed by John Poliquin as his feature length directorial debut. Poliquin's version focused on a younger crowd but used many of the same spooky special effects and style that made the first movie so entertaining.

Creatively entitled Grave Encounters 2 (2012), the sequel followed a group of spoiled teenagers, who had seen the original film, and were inspired to visit Collingwood to investigate for themselves. Yet the malicious force from the first film was all but gone very much like Blair Witch, Texas Chainssaw Massacre and Friday The 13th and their sequels - progressively watered down versions of what was once a scary and original idea.

Notes:[0] = Film makers do this in order to get around traditional conventions that horror movies (Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street) get deeply mired in. As an unintended consequence of obeying genre dogma - so do horror movie audiences.

IMDB, Grave Encounters (2011)
Vicious Brothers, Hard Line
Horror Movie Blog, Grave Robbers Inc.

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