Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Grave Encounters 2 (2012)
Derivative, not scary and far too long
I watched the first Grave Encounters film, and while it was somewhat enjoyable, it was instantly forgettable.
This sequel makes its predecessor look like Citizen Kane. Quite how the producers thought there was 98 minutes in this movie is beyond me. And the most pertinent point for me is this: it's not frightening. Not whatsoever. There are two moments which may make you jump. That's it.
I understand how there are such a glut of found footage movies: they're cheap. But found footage films are now old hat. In order for them to work they have to be original like The Blair Witch Project (which was groundbreaking), or to have a different angle like the Paranormal Activity movies do, when putting the action in the home of the protagonist. However, merely name checking those movies does not make something into some kind of Scream style Meta-horror. In fact, it just looks lazy.
I watch plenty of low budget, low expectation horror movies - I love them. However, this film just had me looking more at the time remaining than the screen, which demonstrates just how boring I found it.
Psychic Experiment (2010)
Messy and lacking in focus
I'd like to make it clear that although I didn't think much of this movie, this review isn't going give it a major kicking just for the sake of it as there was undoubtedly some promise shown by director Mel House.
However, Mel House is also credited as Producer, Writer and Editor and I find that problematic.
There are one or two standout scenes in the movie, both of which feature Reggie Bannister. One particular scene, in a supermarket is genuinely creepy and amusing at the same time. This scene alone deserves commendation.
However, the rest of the movie did seem to lack focus and there were times where scenes appeared to be overly bloated. There were other instances where any pace and urgency disappeared and this is where the case of having one guy be writer/director/producer/editor starts to look problematic.
One can blame budgetary restrictions, but the cast appeared larger than needed; there were characters who appeared to be extraneous.
In summary, there was some flair shown in a couple of set-pieces, but this movie lacked something which is essential and that is a story which grabs you and will keep you interested for 90 minutes. Without this, a movie becomes a chore, and that's what happened for me.
The Innkeepers (2011)
A good genre piece which will leave viewers asking for more - but for different reasons
I liked this film. Having watched Ti West's "House of the Devil", which I thought had great promise but failed to deliver, I was interested to see where he went with this and I was pleased with the outcome.
First and foremost, this is a ghost story. It is not torture porn in the mould of the Saw franchise. It is not a slasher movie like Friday 13th. It is not Rob Zombie. If that's what you want from a horror movie then you probably won't like this. The Innkeepers owes far more to the likes of The Others, The Woman In Black, The Innocents and some J-Horror movies than most recent Hollywood offerings.
Ti West obviously knows his way round a horror movie and The Innkeepers showed that he knows how to manipulate an audience with good characterisation and deft camera work and he knows that the threat of a good scare is just as important as the scare itself. Suspense here is the key element and it delivers this with aplomb.
Like House of the Devil, this film is heavy on style and, given the subject matter, comparisons with The Shining are unavoidable. To say it comes up short of The Shining's high standards is true - it lacks the killer third act for example - but give it a chance; The Shining was written by Stephen King and directed by Stanley Kubrick.
The only criticism I can offer is that the story ends rather abruptly. While more substantial and satisfying than House of The Devil, it still lacked the punch which would promote Ti West to the next level of film makers.
However... this is an independent movie, conceived and shot by a team who obviously know what they're doing and should be given the opportunity to do so again.
Go see this movie, get it on PPV, buy the Blu Ray or DVD when it comes out, because there are not enough people making films of this ilk today.