FILM REVIEW: Grave Encounters 2 (2012)

Grave Encounters 2  should have sucked big time. Most films of its ilk tend to release sequels that are straight-to-DVD garbage. However, Grave Encounters 2  does not suck. In fact, it is a pretty "clever" sequel that takes their pre-established concept to that all important next level.

The film takes place 10 years after the events of the first film in which, if you remember, most of the original cast of the Grave Encounters television show got themselves killed or lost. We are introduced to a young aspiring horror fan/film student by the name of Alex, played by Richard actor who has the right look for genre films. He's joined by, sorta-girlfriend, Jennifer (Leanne Lapp) and bff/film producer Trevor (Dylan Playfair) on a quest to uncover the reality behind the original Grave Encounters  film. Which brings us to "clever" moment number one. Breaking down the fourth wall.

Much like last year's sequel to The Human Centipede, Grave Encounters 2  goes meta in a way that references the first film as events that actually happened. Alex's obsession to discover what happened to the original cast is provoked by an online entity known as "DeathAwaits6" through emails and video responses. Eventually, Alex's curiosity leads him to Hollywood where he meets up with Jerry Harfield (Ben Wilkinson) who reveals that the first film was all real, aside from some minor F/X for dramatic effect. This inspires Alex to take his impromptu film team up to Canada to the old mental hospital from the first film where he is supposed to meet up with this "DeathAwaits6" entity in which to help film a documentary to find out what really happened to Lance Preston and the rest of the Grave Encounters cast.

It's one of the things that sets this film apart, as it establishes an original world utilizing its found footage trappings. All the cameras become a necessary and an, almost, organic part of the storytelling. And, while the film is definitely not perfect in its execution, we appreciate the inventiveness.

The acting is on par with your usual dumb teenagers trapped in a found footage film fare. All the actors are fine for what is asked of them and any "poor acting" is usually attributed to a deliberate "poor acting" character. Although, we will say that we appreciated the lovely Stephanie Bennett in the film and could've, perhaps, seen more of her. As in more nekkidness.

"Clever" moment number two arrives once it is revealed that no one can escape this horrific mental matter how much one tries. We thought it to be "clever" during a scene where most of the kids find a way out of the crazy maze-like place...only to find out that....NOPE. There is no way out, silly dumb teenagers! Well, there is one way out that is actually revealed by "clever" moment number three, which we won't spoil for you here. Although, if you go to the Grave Encounters 2  IMDB page you can figure it out for yourselves when you see who the second billed actor is.

It's all quite "clever" and director John Poliquin does a good job for his feature debut...because The Vicious Brothers were much too busy being all "clever" and stuff. Especially during a scene that reveals the directing siblings as mere interns.

We would say that the film's only real downsides are those of the actual scares. They were pretty much of the exact same variety from the first film and didn't really excel in the originality department. Mostly wide-mouthed ghostly beings chasing dumb teenagers around without any true threat. It might've been cool to go for actual demonic possession. Although, I will say that we enjoyed some of the ways the kids got themselves dead.

Grave Encounters 2  is a fun little experience that does quite a bit to take its original concept to that next level. Although, we do agree with our own Trailer Clairvoyant when she said that if CoolDuder was in this film battling demonic might've been epic. In the end, it's a (altogether now...) "clever" little spook house film that knows exactly what it is and has us pretty excited for the next chapter.

Thanks for reading!