Friday, June 17, 2011

Jason goes to Holehead--Closing Night

One last movie, GRAVE ENCOUNTERS. A clever and well made "found footage" film opens with an introduction by a television producer, explaining that some time ago he produced an unaired reality series featuring the adventures of a team of psychic investigators. This series was to be called "Grave Encounters" and the reason it never made it to air is what happened in episode 6. Then the tapes of episode 6--edited for time but altered in no way--are shown.

The team assembles and prepares to investigate The Haunted Asylum, an old abandoned mental hospital. Caretakers explain the history--some of the first lobotomy experiments were performed there, and locals claim that some nights you can see figures in the windows and/or hear the screams and laughter of the inmates. The crew keeps the cameras running all the time, so you get to see "behind the scenes" moments that reveal the show is a total fake--none of them believe in the paranormal, their psychic is a total act, and they bribe a landscaper to talk about seeing really scary ghosts. And that all sets up the main premise of the episode--they'll lock themselves in the hospital for one night, and film everything that happens. Of course, they start by ginning up a few events, but soon the real spooks come out, and the sun never comes back up (and none of the lights work in the building). And then it's a series of escalating scares. There's not much of a surprise in the main premise (it's almost identical to HAUNTED CHANGI from earlier in the festival), but it's accomplished very, very well. It even made me jump a few times. Great work for a first feature film by the Vicious Brothers (not their real fact, I don't think they're really brothers).

And like that, Holehead is over...for another year...or possibly another six months, if they actually do a winter event like they're promising/planning.

Running Time: 92 minutes
My Total Minutes: 240,408

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