A ghost-chasing reality show crew makes the mistake of choosing a location that is actually, you know, haunted. The intrepid Grave Encounters team decides to investigate the laundry list of paranormal events at the old Collingwood Mental Hospital, where “thousands” of patients were lobotomized, neglected, and otherwise discouraged in their quests for a sound mind. Manic team leader Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson), loaded down with the latest in ghostbuster technology, hopes they’ll find evidence of a real haunting. Careful what you wish for, dude.

It’s been a few moons since I reviewed a “found footage” feature, and I’m glad I found this one. Stylistic similarities aside, I dig Grave Encounters more than The Blair Witch Project. (Dig? Grave? See what I did there?) True, TBWP came first, but to me, the scariest thing about that particular film, was the inability of its characters to camp successfully. Frankly, it hasn’t aged well.

Grave Encounters is a much less “subtle” movie, and the fright factor is much higher. Sure, most of the time, less is more. The suggestion of terror is more effective than beating you over the head with a bag of ghosts (see the original version of The Haunting, and the vapid remake with Owen Wilson and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Or better yet, just watch the original.) Here is an exception to the rule. The Vicious Brothers, who wrote and directed, like to reveal their spooks, but they do so in an artful manner, staggering the flow of genuine frights in unpredictable ways. Some scenes build to an expected payoff—and then it doesn’t happen. But it will. Later. When you’re not looking for it. Original premise? Hell to the no. Fun? Affirmative.

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