Grave Encounters 2 tries very hard to be smart; however, the fact that it's so self-aware takes away from any atmosphere or cleverness it might achieve. All the scare attempts fall short because they either make no sense, are set up too far in advance, or they're just fright #56 off a list of the top 100 cliched horror tropes.
The start of the film explains away its predecessor as an Internet sensation through a series of talking-head reviews on YouTube. The protagonist, Alex, played by Richard Harmon, gives Grave Encounters a negative review. Messages from a YouTube user called Deathawaits6 leads Alex to look deeper. The mysterious user sends a video message of the "actor" from the first film, leading Alex to find there's more to the previous story than he thought. The actors of the first film have done nothing since and cannot be found. Alex keeps researching, prodded along by Deathawaits6, until he finds the asylum of the first flick.
I'm bored already just thinking back on watching this. It's all so wink-wink that one has to wonder if that was the intent of the filmmakers, director John Poliquin, and writers The Vicious Brothers. The movie is billed as terrifying, but it's all too meta: they put down other movies in the film that were actually scary, they explain too much (like the Bond-villainesque producer that Alex tracks down), and they attempt to use scares from the first movie -- watching a YouTube screen in a movie is not remotely frightening.
Grave Encounters 2 missed the mark. It points out all that's wrong with horror itself and then makes the same mistakes. This can't be intentional. If it was, it's not funny.