Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Grave Encounters

Everyone and their brother and their dog told me to watch this movie. People have been raving about it ever since it came out, saying how scary it is and how good it is. Of course, the danger in that is raising expectations so high that the movie lets you down when you finally see it, and I was worried that would happen here. Well, actually, I was split between worrying that the movie would be bad and worrying that it would be GOOD but so scary that it messed me up for a few days. Some movies do that. I'm happy to report that the movie ended up being good and scary without causing any permanent emotional trauma, so I'm happy.

This is one of those "found footage" movies, where in this case, a film crew goes to the site of a reported haunting and tries to capture evidence of the ghostly happenings. My biggest complaint about this movie is the "shaky-cam" work. I know it's to be expected in movies like this, but it was ridiculous here. The camera guy couldn't even focus in on the face of the person speaking half the time, which was especially annoying at the beginning before anything scary had happened and they had an excuse to be running around shaking the camera wildly. Seriously, this footage was supposed to be the episode of a TV show about paranormal investigators, and you'd think one of the crew would be able to know how to use a camera properly.

Small quibble aside, the movie was good at building tension. Nothing overtly scary happens for a long time, long enough for me to wonder when anything was going to happen, and the slow build let me get to know the characters. The lead character, Lance, is kind of an ass, and it's clear he's more in this to try and make some money rather than from any genuine interest in the occult. There's also a "psychic medium" who is an over-the-top fake, and I didn't really like him much either. I liked the rest of the crew, though, and I believed them when they started to fall apart when things started getting really scary. I even wound up feeling bad for Lance in the end (it helped that he stopped acting like such a jerk by that time). This movie has some great, creepy effects, and small quibbles aside, it's well worth checking out.

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