Saturday, October 23, 2010

Instant Trash: Paranormal Entity

Just for the record- I have not seen Paranormal Activity.  Nor do I plan to- at least, not for a while.  I have a policy of avoiding films with soooo much hype surrounding them until some time has passed.  In my attempts to be an actual critic, it's the only thing I can do to stay impartial.  Case in point: I just watched The Descent a few months ago.  So, will I ever see the low-budget film that grossed approximately 1,000 times it's budget?  Of course.  Just don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen right now.  Instead, let's focus on The Asylum- this being a sentence that never ends well.  They're P.A. knock-off is here now and it seems appropriate to review it as the sequel to P.A. has just hit theaters.  What's the same?  Just about everything is, really.  People are in a house and a ghost is pissed at them for reasons that we may never know.  What's different?  Well, we have a third person involved- the mother of the guy.  In addition, the lead woman is not the wife of our hero, but is, instead, his sister.  This adds a creepy element to the whole thing, not even counting that a plot point involves him being accused of raping her.  Say it with me- ewwww.  So can this company catch lightning in a bottle with this film?  You're seriously wondering that?  Ha.  Get out your Lionel Richie ghost for my review...
Through some title cards, we learn that the Finley family lived in this house until the sister was killed and the brother was accused of this, as well as her rape.  He committed suicide in jail, apparently The Asylum's attempt to not allow themselves to make a sequel.  After some clunky dialogue, the mother explains what happened.  Their father/husband died about a year ago and the wife started talking to his ghost- or so she thought.  Yes, in a plot stolen from Witchboard- way to aim high- the ghost is apparently something much more malicious.  They explain that the sister was attacked by in it in bed, which is a scene that you could of, you know, shown us!  But no, this film's stupid conceit is that the brother is filming everything, so we can't see what he didn't shoot.  For more cinematic cheats and budget-cutting moves, keep reading.
I'll spare you a lot of time and cut past a lot of the film's filler and padding.  We see the 'ghost' do random things like move a stool or turn on the TV.  Yes, your special effects can be done by magnets under the floor and a remote control!  The ghost/demon is also mad at religion, since he keeps knocking over the crucifix that hangs above the sister's bed.  Good to know that religious symbols can't protect you from demons, huh?  The only real creepy scene involves the family being woken up by loud banging.  Good- now you're stealing from The Haunting.  After some jump scares and shit, they discover footprints all over the ceiling.  The guy follows them back to the knocked-over urn containing the dad's ashes and they find foot marks in the pile.  This is actually kind of creative except for two key things.  First, why don't they call the police?  You could argue that 'doors closing' and 'people sleepwalking' is not something you call the cops on.  However, you have footprints on your damn ceiling!  Hell, you could have called that lady from Death of a Ghost Hunter- not like she's good or anything.  Second, how does the ghost/demon have footprints?  It's a horror conceit that ghosts can interact with solid objects, but how often do they leave footprints?  You had one good idea and you killed it.  Good job, idiots!
Eventually, our hero tells the women to leave for their own safety, which the mom objects to.  No, there's no good reason- she just does.  Alone now, our hero is chased by the ghost who-wait for it- closes doors loudly and kicks bells on strings.  Oh, the horror?  He gets a call from his family telling him that the ghost/demon followed them.  She subsequently explains an actually-interesting scene that- again- is merely told to us.  Show, don't tell!  Things start to get real when mom sleepwalks to the kitchen and cuts her wrists (off-camera) with a knife.  Don't worry- she lives...kind of.  After the sister is molested in the bath,- now you're stealing from The Entity- the ghost expert they've been calling for the whole film finally arrives.  He spends about five minutes talking about evil ghosts and shit before- get this- the camera is knocked out.  Suddenly, the thing is back on and our hero goes to check things out.  The expert is dead- thanks for coming- and the sister is, assaulted, I guess in her bedroom and covered in blood.  The man checks on her and, a mere ten seconds later, the camera is picked up to show her blood-free body.  Thanks for the continuity, guys.  The End.
This movie sucks- duh!  The Asylum manages to spoil another good idea with their bullshit.  The plot has promise, but the execution is terrible.  The fact that we get so much shaky-cam is just the tip of this iceberg of shit.  Why not just use the set cameras and have more of them?  It would feel less forced to have pre-set shots and have people just move in and out of them.  Secondly, why does the ghost do what he does and what exactly are his/her limitations?  He's not the dad, so why is he bothering the family?  In one scene, he just moves crosses, while in another he apparently posseses the mother.  So he can possess people, so he doesn't just possess the brother?  Another thing- why does he freaking have footprints?!?  I can kind of accept that he idea that he leaves bruises on the sister- since it was in The Entity- but I can't buy footprints!  This movie reminds me way too much of Monster/Tokyo.  Is it the shaky-cam?  Is it the shitty acting?  Is it the 'let's explain the whole plot in title cards' bullshit?  Is it the unexplained monster and sudden ending that makes no sense?  Yes.  Thankfully they didn't at least steal footage from that film- something you'll see in an Asylum film to come.  If you like P.A., don't see this knock-off.  The additions to the story make it worse- since the brother's camera often lingers on the sister's body- and they remove the actual scares in place of loud noises.  Just sit in a dark room for 90 minutes while someone randomly pops in and says 'Boo!' & you'll get the same effect.
Up next, let's switch from shitty ghost films to shitty comedies.  This is a film about cannibalism, murder and fat jokes by the star of Psycho.  Stay tuned...


  1. All I have to say is The Asylum FINALLY found a way to disprove a popular film. The scares in Paranormal Entity are at least as frightening as PA, it uses all of the same tricks and shows that anyone can really make that film.

  2. Fucking awesome i saw this movie when i was 15 this made my life changed =D