Starring Mathieu Ratthe, Kimberly Laferriere, Victor Andres Telles-Turgeon
Directed by Mathieu Ratthe
Right off the bat, the first words uttered in The Gracefield Incident are as follows: “do you have to film everything?” – No truer damn words have EVER been uttered, ladies and gentlemen, and with that very specific question posed, the film starts off with a couple in a car, and their inattentiveness to anything other than the damn camera results in a horrific accident, claiming a life.
Director Mathieu Ratthe does a double-shot of duty here, also starring in the film as Matthew, a video-game developer who was in the aforementioned accident, costing him the use of his eye. No worries however, as a spare iPhone camera has been rigged to his prosthetic headlight in the attempt of documenting a get-together with his gal Jessica (Laferriere) and their pals at a cabin in the woods (oh lord, help us all). During some hefty rounds of beer pong and scanty-dipping in the hot-tub out back, a meteorite (or some random flaming boulder) from the sky zips way too close to the cabin and barrels into the woods – leaving a trail of “holy shits!” in its wake. What transpires next is a Blair Witch-like romp through the darkened woods where the gang recovers a chunk of the meteorite (jeezus, haven’t any of these fools watched Creepshow), and subsequently loses a member of their group. I mean, you’ve got to love the mentality of these characters when they initially stumble upon the charred remains of the ground after the crash and they’re screaming like teenage banshees with excitement, but at the point of searching for one of their friends, they remain deathly quiet – enhancement of environmental scares, I believe its called.
As the night continues on, the formerly happy clan of revelers becomes a squeaky, curled up bunch of scaredy-cats as otherworldly-type instances begin to unfold in and around the cabin, and at the risk of sounding too much like a malcontented soul…the alien hand? REALLY? Guys, you’ve got to see it to believe it, trust me. We’ve got odd messages scrawling on TV sets and cell phones, flickering lights, and all the bells and whistles that only a sincerely pissed off E.T. could conjure up. However, there are some genuinely scary moments covered in the movie itself, and aside from the overly shaky-cam coverage, we are treated to some steady-shots and mounted cams from inside the cabin, which build up the suspense, Paranormal Activity-style. Performances are a bit…annoying, if I can say – with dialogue that is as bargain-basement as you could find, and reactions to some occurrences that come off hokey at best – Ratthe is the MVP here, however as his direction and portrayal of a saddened man comes off believable and pushes his character to the forefront (it was there anyway). Overall, the film could’ve definitely been a bit more drastic with its techniques, and maybe had a little more intelligent thinking from its characters, but it still begs at least one watch, especially for those die-hard sci-fi conspiracy theorists. Is there intelligent life out there, and if so, do they get pissed when another film is made about them?