Movie commercials offer us a great service; they not only show us which upcoming movies look good, but also which ones to avoid. And if one looks closely, they often reveal more than intended about the film in question. In honor of this profound art, I give you TRAILER TRACKS, an examination of upcoming movie commercials: What they say, what they don’t say, and what they say on accident about the product being sold to you, the excited chump.
Grave Encounters 2 (Dir. The Vicious Brothers)
The first Grave Encounters was a basic found footage film built around the concept of a paranormal investigative television show canceled due to a sudden case of paranormal death. The film basically displayed the last, fatal episode. In this hyper-meta sequel, a group of Grave Encounters fans visit the film’s haunted location and catch the same sudden case of paranormal death that killed everyone in the first film. It’s looking more and more like Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 never happened.
So right off the bat we’re dealing with a movie where everyone in the film knows about the first one as if it were just a famous bit of popular culture. The first one was found footage, too, so I guess it all takes place in the same narrative universe. Since the first Grave Encounters was fairly underground, “real” fan testimonials for Grave Encounters 2 must forgo Jay Leno and Roger Ebert and settle instead for chubby horror film fans and pretty girls. That’s okay. It makes it more authentic. Except for the pretty girls.
We have a handful of protagonists, but only a few get any real attention. Many shots focus on two pretty ladies who display various degrees of terrified throughout the trailer. Then there’s this hipster-looking twerp who appears to be the ringleader. He not only handles camera duties, but appears to be some sort of spiritual medium as well. Or maybe he’s just faking it. He is a hipster-looking twerp after all.
As far as the trailer is concerned, these guys are visiting the first film’s site not to investigate anything specific but just to see if the first film was all real. That doesn’t explain the cameras or lighting equipment, but this is the 21st Century; I guess cameras are ubiquitous enough that we shouldn’t question such found footage conceits. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hipster Twerp isn’t trying to capitalize on the first film’s success somehow.
Obviously, they find out the events of the first film were real, and everything gets spooky scary. The found footage of Grave Encounters 2 takes on a few different shades. We have regular vision, night vision, and even a little Predator vision. Based on this trailer, most of the big scares come via night vision mixed with the kind of abject CG face-stretching seen a long time ago in Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Son” video.
Not only do we have a bunch of monsters to deal with, but tables get thrown and doors are blown off their hinges as well. Our gang has little choice but to run around screaming. Occasionally, they have to sit still and be quiet. Things get really weird toward the end of the trailer as we find our heroes cowering while a bunch of creepy ghost hospital procedures happen around them. So maybe they enter a different dimension like in Silent Hill. One guy gets set on fire, so we definitely have that to look forward to.
These films typically only end one way: everyone dies. That’s cool with me, so long as it ensures Hipster Twerp’s demise.
One potential wrinkle arises with this hick cop at the beginning of the trailer. Hipster Twerp mentions that he’s hiding something, indicating that the cop knows more than most people what’s going on inside the haunted facility. Furthermore, the cop demands they hand over their footage. If the tape they give him didn’t somehow end up in the same stockpile of footage as everything else they shot, sharing this particular moment would not be possible. So maybe the cop tries to save the day at the end of the film, but dies anyway. Or maybe they somehow don’t give him their tapes at the beginning. Or maybe they do and the movie just doesn’t care.
My pet theory is that the gang battles past all these ghosts and monsters and flying doors only to find themselves confronted with… a pair of walking, talking coffins. Thus, they actually encounter graves. 2 of them.
Of course I want to see this. It’s probably just another predictable bit of disappointing found footage nonsense, but those monsters just look to cool to ignore. I’m also a big fan of the fact that it’s directed by two guys who bill themselves “The Vicious Brothers” even though they aren’t actually brothers (they don’t have the same last names, anyway. Maybe they’re actually brothers but one got married and took his wife’s last name as protest against patriarchy).
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