Grave Encounters 2 John Poliquin

Grave Encounters 2 John Poliquin
2
To cut to the heart of the matter, the sequel to unremarkable found-footage horror Grave Encounters would aptly be described by the subtitle When Numbskulls Attempt Meta. Knowing that simply sending another group of ghost hunters to explore the abandoned mental hospital that trapped Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) and his reality television crew would be as superfluous as shooting another first-person, faux-reality paranormal flick was in the first place, pretentiously named writing duo the Vicious Brothers thought they were mighty clever when they struck upon the idea of dressing the same concept in slightly different clothing. Intended as a punkish middle-finger to the very genre they're intent on beating to death, Grave Encounters 2 concerns a cocky film student intent on making a trope-defying entry in the horror field who becomes obsessed with the idea that the original Grave Encounters wasn't a work of fiction after receiving clues in the comments field of his YouTube review of the movie. Increasingly frustrated with his crappy slasher project, Alex Wright (Richard Harmon, who embodies the smug prick role well enough) convinces his friends/film crew to follow him to the "real" mental hospital depicted in Grave Encounters to shoot a documentary on what happened to Sean Rogerson and the rest of the film's cast. The first portion of the movie spends a great deal of time attempting to forge a connection to the characters, but with the exception of Alex's egotistical, psychotic selfishness, they're all pretty much one-dimensional pieces of ghost fodder in waiting. As the team of horror buffs explore the spooky hospital, the Vicious Brothers make it abundantly clear that they're very familiar with the typical failings of the genre, but acknowledging clichés and using them anyway doesn't elevate the material; it just proves they can't think outside of the box they've trapped themselves in beyond the most superficial strokes. Maybe that wouldn't matter as much if Grave Encounters 2 displayed any aptitude for building tension, like most entries in the Paranormal Activity franchise, despite how stupid and silly their plots are, but it doesn't. At least the Vicious Brothers are self-aware enough to know that they needed to hire a more technically capable director to achieve their "vision" this time around and, as a result, John Poliquin has made the film decent-looking. However, it's just that's it's ultimately toothless and not a fraction as clever as it thinks it is. The lone special feature is a set of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews that immediately breaks the film's conceit in the interest of demonstrating a few technical details. If you're going to try to pull the wool over gullible eyes, shear the whole sheep. (Anchor Bay)