I’ll admit it upfront; I have not seen the first Grave Encounters. Whether that puts me at a disadvantage, I don’t know, because you don’t need to see it to keep up with Grave Encounters 2. As far as I’m concerned, the sequel is squeaky clean. It quickly fills you in on the previous film and flawlessly shifts into its own story.
Grave Encounters 2 focuses on Alex’ (Richard Harmon – Trick ‘r Treat, Dear Mr. Gacy) obsession with the story of the missing TV crew seen in the first film. Naturally, Alex is a film student, which helps feed his obsession and gives him access to thousands of dollars’ worth of film equipment. His obsession kicks into overdrive when he starts receiving anonymous tips from a vlogger who goes by the handle “Death Awaits 666.” Yeah, if this film existed in any other era than ours, that name would be a pretty strong indicator to stay away.
Obviously, with film equipment and a group of friends who are both reluctant adventurers and pranksters (Trevor, played by Dylan Playfair; Tessa, played by Stephanie Bennett; Jared played by Howie Lai; and Jennifer played by Leanne Lapp), Grave Encounters 2 is a bit of a first-person, found-footage film. However, it’s not as annoying as most – either that, or I’m becoming numb to the genre.
While Alex’ increasing obsession at school is captivating, and the film could have gone in an entirely different direction, the time came for the story to move on. I love films that spend time setting “it” up, and Grave Encounters 2 does that, so much so that a part of me wishes the whole film took place on the school’s campus. I have no idea, but I’d venture to say that the Vicious Brothers (Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz) are as influenced by Steven Spielberg as they are by Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez (The Blair Witch Project).
So, our cast moves onto the abandoned mental institute where the first film took place. I can’t say if from here on out it’s basically a regurgitation of the first film, or if the institute itself is even more of a character in Grave Encounters 2, but it is a house of horrors that kept my knuckles white.
I won’t spoil the end for you, but the film has a twist ending. So if you don’t like it, at least know that there’s a payoff at the end.
The Verdict: [rating:4]
Grave Encounters 2 is a totally fun ride and totally worth viewing. Filled with neat camera tricks, creepy scenery (dolls in rocking chairs), jump scares, kill scenes, and low-brow humor (infrared farts, anyone?), the film never takes itself too seriously and has the potential to become a cult favorite.
Rock Hard \m/
- Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
- Year Released:
- 12 October 2012; 12 March 2013 (DVD/Blu-ray)
- John Poliquin
- Richard Harmon, Dylan Playfair, Stephanie Bennett, Howie Lai, Leanne Lapp
- Horror, Found-Footage
- Official URL:
- Grave Encounters 2