Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Keith Age, Troy Taylor, John Zaffis, Rosemary Guiley
Directed by The Booth Brothers
Distributed by Spooked Television Releasing
There’s no question the most common fear in the world is that of death. Sometimes people just don’t want to go. There are so many unanswered questions. Is it the possible finality of it all that makes us not want to accept it? Or maybe it’s the possibility of the unknown afterwards if in fact we do go on. Will we ride the clouds in Heaven with friends long gone, or will we suffer the fires and brimstone for our sins? What if we get lost in-between? Is that what ghosts are? People stuck between Heaven and Hell? In any event the subject will never fail to fascinate.
Sometimes evidence of another existence is hard to deny. There are many instances of freaky shit caught on video or in still photos. We have even heard what can only be described as the voices of the dead on numerous EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) that have been recorded all over the world. Sometimes you can’t discount this stuff. The Booth Brothers, Christopher Saint Booth and Philip Adrian Booth, are twin filmmakers who have been documenting paranormal activities for the last several years. Their latest film, Children of the Grave, takes us to some of the most frightening places right here in the good old USA to search for the ghosts of children.
According to the documentary, the spirits of kids represent a large portion of all types of paranormal activity. In this at times utterly frightening film, we’re taken to a few choice destinations: abandoned orphanages and their unmarked mass graves, old castles and their underground tunnels, and even the world famous Lawler Ford Road, which is better known to ghost hunters as the ever-so-infamous Zombie Road. The Booths and company leave no (grave) stones unturned as they present their cases through a combination of sometimes a bit too flashy original footage and historical content like famous documented photos, recordings, and pictures.
There’s truly a lot to take in here including one of the strangest EVPs I’ve ever heard. Apparently upon getting to their first location, a mass grave of around seven hundred individuals, their sound guy picked up what can only be described as hundreds of voices crying out at once. Whether this be real or fake is squarely on your shoulders to decide, but one thing’s for certain; it was pretty fucking effective and guaranteed to give the hairs on the back of your neck quite the rise. There are literally dozens of examples of EVPs and video/photo evidence presented that will make you question your own personal beliefs.
As entertaining as this film is, I must say it’s also very sad. The death of a child, be it natural or unnatural, is never pleasant. In one instance an EVP of a little girl was recorded when someone was placing a teddy bear on the child’s grave. A faint voice can clearly be heard saying, “I want to hold“. That’s just heartbreaking, man. For the most part the Booths handle this material well, as they know it can be a bummer and unsettling, but there are other times when things seem too theatrical to be taken seriously.
Sometimes the original footage is just too slick and polished, thus creating a bit of an uneven tone throughout Children of the Grave‘s runtime. Quick, glossy editing doesn’t exactly pair with raw video footage well, but what really took me out of it? The onscreen text. Every single sentence or description we read off of the TV ends with an exclamation point, giving the impression that you’re reading an old Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book instead of enjoying a serious piece of non-fiction. Don’t let that dissuade you though. If you look past these minor annoyances, there’s one hell of an experience to be had.
As for the DVD the only supplemental material to be found here is a series of still galleries that range in content from the usual behind-the-scenes stuff to some really insane spirit photography. Not a lot of meat, but the kicker is that there is some extra footage included within this release that did not air when it originally ran on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Children of the Grave may not be too unique when it comes to delivering a documentary on the paranormal, but the one thing that sets it apart from the herd is the sheer number of examples of evidence that is presented to the viewer in rapid fire succession. Whether or not you’re a hardcore skeptic or an outright believer, this film will leave you doing two things … thinking and discussing. That’s always the sign of a job well done. Don’t forget to leave a light on!
3 1/2 out of 5
1 out of 5
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