Monday, April 16, 2012

moist haunted.

Another day another found footage farrago.

This time it's an American version of Most Haunted that caught my eye (son) only slightly less faked.

I really must learn.

Grave Encounters (2011).
Dir: The Vicious Brothers.
Cast:  All the folk listed below because it's real obviously. 






Seeing as this is a true story and everything we are about to witness actually happened the movie quite helpfully opens with quick introduction from (the real) television producer Jerry Hartfield where he describes what we are about to see (that'll be Grave Encounters then); a paranormal reality show created by starring band directed by leather jacketed ghost hunter Shane Ritchie (tho' he uses the name Lance Preston for some reason best known to himself).

Anyway after five hit episodes the show was mysteriously cancelled (like Doctor Who in the eighties), the reason as to why has been kept secret until now.
So it wasn't cos it was shite then?

Hartfield, his porn 'tache slowly undulating in the breeze excitedly informs us that the film we're about to see is the raw footage from the sixth and final episode filmed.

And the reason it wasn't show?

Well it seems that everyone involved in it's production died or went mental whilst investigating the notorious (well notorious to anyone who's ever rented out a movie with that name in the title) Collingwood hospital.

Cool, any tension or surprises the film may have had have just been blown in the first few minutes.

How great is that?

Insert cock here.
Anyways, enough chit chat as it's time to meet the shows team of crack paranormal investigators; the aforementioned Preston and his camera crew cum tech' types, British impressionist John Culshaw, seventies pop sensation Suzi Quatro and BBC one talent show star Jaz Ellington.

Also along for the ride is top rocker and famed teevee medium 'Steve' Tyler (under his stage name Whitby Houston).

So far so meh.

Tyler: Intense, obviously he don't wanna miss a thing.
 

Turning up at the supposedly  haunted location we're treated to the genuinely funny site of Preston ramping up the tension with his hyperbolic introductions and deadpan delivery whilst the rest of the crew bribe gardeners and the like to discover more juicy 'facts' about the hospital.

Now had the movie continued in this mock-tastic mode (and lost the everybody dies intro) we'd be in for a treat.

Unfortunately the directors seem intent on throwing away any ounce of originality and instead happily serve up 90 minutes of half baked sub-Silent Hill shocks regarding shoddily CG-ed spectres, phantom bath tubs, sentient corridors and a Devil worshipping, lobotomy obsessed Doctor named Arthur Friedkin all mixed together with scenes lifted wholesale from the vastly superior (and criminally under distributed) Haunted Changi.

Cutting yourself is possibly the best way to stay awake during the film.

 As is the norm, after sitting about joking and farting for a while spooky shite does in fact 'go down' as you youngsters say and one by one the investigators are split up and disposed of in all manner of amusing ways including baths, fog and good old open lift shafts until only Preston is left, alone and snotty in the hospitals underground tunnels, destined to be the next victim of freaky Friedkin's sharp metal stick.

Yawn.

SSSSSHHHIIIIMMMMOOOOO!


Oh dear, now where to start with the so called Vicious Brothers first foray into the cinematic sewer?

The basic idea of a phoney teevee ghost show where the spirits turn out to be real is actually a great concept for a movie, take away the plot blowing opening and the been there seen it spooks and the movie could have worked.

The cast are adequate, the direction is fine and the idea of the building itself reacting to the investigators is one sorely underused, it's a pity that all of this is wasted on such a plodding and threadbare plot.

Why film makers can't just have the courage to drop the viewer straight into the scenario without having to employ a character to say "Look, this is real, honest". is beyond me.

It's not like it suddenly convinces us that it is all real, it just makes us feel like the film makers are convinced none of us have an imagination.

Take Series 7 and Ghostwatch for example, they start as they mean to go on, we know the set up is fake but we go along with it for the thrill of the ride.

It's not all bad tho' as the movie does have one ace up it's sleeve in the guise of Mackenzie Gray who literally (well not literally as that would be a crime) steals every scene he's in as the fake medium Houston Gray.

Worthy of his own spin off series the guy manages to out Acorah the great Derek himself and reminds you of what the movie could have been.

Yvette Fielding will be spinning in her grave.


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