Based on true events, six investigators head to one of the world's most haunted places to uncover the source of supernatural sightings and phenomena. Known for centuries as a notorious magnet for grave robbers, body snatchers, Satanists and cultists since the time of The Black Death, the ruined St. Mary's Church at Clophill plays host to filmmaker Kevin Gates and his team of researchers. Obsessed with unraveling the secrets of this “unholy ground,” they venture into the murky dark armed with cameras, curiosity and a need to expose the truth. However, some secrets were meant to stay buried- permanently. Over the course of three chilling nights, it becomes clear it becomes clear that they have unleashed something ancient and evil that has long been hungry to escape into this world.
The St. Mary's Church in Clophill has been investigated for paranormal activity multiple times and I am not sure which investigation this is supposedly based on. Like all "based on a true story" films that line should be taken with a grain of salt (if not a spoonful) because "based" is normally just a another word for "lying about." What I do know is that the Church this film centers on and is filmed on location at does have a very dark and real history. The Church Of England no longer owns or is responsible for this property and it is no longer considered consecrated ground. The site has, for hundreds of years, had a reputation for strange occurrences and even in recent times been confirmed as the site off some pretty bad black masses with the authorities even finding human sacrifices. Now enough with the history lesson.
The acting was pretty typical of a found footage style film. Better than some I have seen but nothing that will blow you away. Of course this kind of film has really no need for deep emotional or dramatic portrayals. The characters have a real quality and even seem like they are all actually friends and being an indie film this may be the case. The dialogue is more than passable with certain actors delivering better but nothing that breaks any characters' legitimacy.
On the technical side of the film there isn't much to say. The camera is either on a tripod, being held, or in certain scenes looking like it's being kicked down stairs, as is the norm in the genre. The sound and video quality varies throughout the film and i would assume it was recorded with a shotgun mic rigged to a high end yet still consumer level camcorder.
True event credibility aside, The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill, is filmed in the found footage format. While this is nothing new the way the film is presented is much more realistic than the average found footage film. It does genuinely feel like a documentary akin to something like the show "Ghost Hunters." A majority of the film the are actually using real paranormal investigation techniques, and while they get more results than a real life investigation would get, there is nothing pushed to extreme that ruins that realism. There are a few events in the film that really do push the mood and atmosphere home and push a feeling of dread over the crew. Towards the end, the movie actually took a much different path than i expected, which was nice considering most first person films all pretty much end the same. This ending gave a bit of a lasting uneasy feel to some involved. I found the film to be enjoyable with several great sequences but this film will be undoubtedly to "slow" paced for some peoples taste. Anyone who already likes the found footage genre or paranormal investigation TV shows will probably love this film.
The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill will be available on DVD and Digital Download September 30th 2014
You can watch the trailer here: