Hello. My name is Brad McHargue and I hate movies.
Ok, that’s not entirely true. I love film, especially horror, though I will be the first to admit that I’m a relatively harsh critic. Maybe I have high expectations, or maybe I’m just sick and tired of the recycled tropes and cliches that my mind has been soured on the genre. I prefer to think it’s the exact opposite; for me, it has to do with finding that diamond in the rough, that one film that results in the sort of incessant fawning I give films such Pontypool and Session 9.
And it’s rare. Horror is an easy genre to break into due to its diversity and broad fan base, affording anyone with a camera, and the recipe for karo syrup, the opportunity to make a horror film. This is especially true with the advent of found footage, a sub-genre that requires little more than a camera, a loose outline, and someone off camera knocking on a door. Despite this, I love found footage horror, especially when I finally find one that is genuinely well-made, scary, and doesn’t fall back on that God damned “people will want to know what happened” excuse for filming while being chased by something that clearly wants to kill you.
One of these films is Grave Encounters. It managed to take a simple premise (ghost hunters filming a TV show), made it unique (they wind up trapped in a labyrinthine building), and left enough open to interpretation so as to incite discussion. Through it all, however, I didn’t like it. I wanted to, but after several viewings, I realized that all of the aforementioned positives are nothing more than a ruse to trick you into thinking you’re watching more than just one-off scares and a handful of horror tropes.
Jeremy Kirk, a writer for Film School Rejects and co-host of the First Showing Golden Briefcase podcast, feels quite differently, and as such he has the distinction of being the first guest I go toe-to-toe with in Dead Wrong!, the new official podcast of Horror’s Not Dead. For those who aren’t familiar with Dead Wrong! (and why would you be) when I hosted it on my now-defunct blog I Love Horror, the premise is simple: I pick a film I love or hate (there’s some wiggle room with those two distinctions), find someone with an opposing viewpoint, and provide a running commentary with said individual while we watch the film. Simple as that.
As such, I would like to present to you the first episode of Dead Wrong!, starring Jeremy Kirk and myself. Today’s episode? Grave Encounters, directed by The Vicious Brothers. Enjoy!