Is it just me, or has there been an increase in the sale of handheld cameras in the past few years?
Yep, you geussed it, Paranormal Entity belongs to the ‘Handheld Camera Horror’ sub genre that has been spawned by modern culture and other phoenomea. Although to be fair, it is the best entry that I have seen in this genre. That still doesn’t make it a good movie however.
Right from the get go you can tell that this was an indie production, it went straight to dvd when it was made and hardly ever heard of. The cast are also fairly anonymous, which may have something to do with the fact that the film is supposed to be a true story and therefore there are no credits. This is a spin off from Paranormal Activity in more ways than just the name. The Finley household has been haunted by a supernatural presence, following the death of the family’s father, and the son has been told to film what is happening around the house, this takes place across a number of days, until the final night when everything goes batshit bonkers.
Although you would expect a film that takes place over several nights to be well paced, it fails to do that. Some nights the ghost does nothing, but others it can open doors and move chairs. There is one very pointless sequence when Samantha Finley goes missing for a short amount of time, then the brother goes outside, then he goes back inside. The narrative has a few cracks in it, including one hilarious error if you can spot it.
I shall explain, being that this is another film born out of the same philosophy as the Blair Witch Project, the film was supposedly found a year after the events took place. BUT, if you look carefully when the brother reads through her diary, you can clearly see that the date is Sepember ’09. This was either deliberate to let the viewers know in a subtle way that this didn’t actually happen, or the directors have made a huge mistake.
The film is indie through and through. This has its weaknesses, but there are many strengths to this. The film had a low budget, so they couldn’t have any really flashy special effects, so they relyed on darkness and the creation of a solid atmosphere of dread and death to draw the viewer into this universe, although the few problems with the narrative can bring you straight back to reality again.
There is also a sense of incredible tension created thorughout the film. If you read the film synopsis you will know that the entire family was murdered by the son, and the very first shot is of the text telling us exactly that. You keep on wondering how and why the son is going to kill them, and this is probably one of the biggest let downs that the film has. Right towards the end, the exorcist come ghostbuster comes to the house and tries to help them. Then, literally thirty seconds later, the film ends.
This is a clear sign that the storyline wasn’t set in stone from the beginning. There is a whole night devoted to the ashes of their father, but then it is never brought up again.
In summary, the film has a great atmosphere, and there are some moments which will genuinely freak you out, but the narrative is so unfocused that it leads to the audience being more confused than terrified. I would definetly reccomend getting it if you can find it cheap, but it’s not really worth it if it’s not in the £5 or less section.