Richard Harmon plays a horror buff in the savvy Grave Encounters 2.
GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2 (John Poliquin). 109 minutes. Opens Friday (February 15). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNNN
Stuffed with Satanism, child sacrifice, rat-eating and wonky, Escher-house physics, Grave Encounters 2 is a case of more is more.
The sequel to the 2011 found-footage horror film - which saw a crew of cable TV ghost hunters trapped in a Maryland asylum - opens with YouTube reviews of the original, including a savage pan by college film student Alex (Richard Harmon). When Alex receives a message from another YouTube user claiming to know the real story behind Grave Encounters, he abandons the derivative torture porn film he's working on to investigate.
Like its predecessor, GE2 takes its time to get going: 45 minutes pass before the first scare. But from there, its canned postmodern gestures compound so ludicrously that they're hard not to like.
The original film distinguished itself by showing total disdain for its huckster ghost hunters - and by extension for the film's presumed audience.
GE2 doubles down on this snide derision, giddily sending its cast of amateur filmmakers and horror buffs to their doom. When so much post-New Nightmare meta-horror is desperate to congratulate fans for their intelligence, it's tempting to admire (however begrudgingly) a horror movie that has the nerve to punish genre buffs - those onscreen and those in the audience - instead of flattering their insider savvy.