I’m not a fan of “found footage” movies at all. First, they give me motion sickness to the point of projectile vomiting. Secondly, it seems like a gimmick filmmakers use as a way to make a cheap movie they can market to millions and profit off. Every once in a while, one comes along and makes me second-guess my attitude towards the horror sub-genre. However, it’s always at home on a much smaller screen than the one found at your local multiplex.
When I received “The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill” in the mail, I immediately dismissed it as another “Paranormal Activities” wannabe. After being “harassed” by the movie’s publicist (she’s great at her job) for my review, I finally gave in while expecting nothing good to come of the experience. I was very wrong in my presumption.
“The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill” sets just the right mood to pull people into its hysteria. What could be more frightening than an old desecrated church in the middle of nowhere rumored to be used as a location for satanic worship? Add to that a disturbing history of death and tragedy and you have a perfect foundation for ghostly sightings and supernatural disturbances. Did I mention the church is surrounded by a graveyard?
The entire movie is made up of faux interviews with researchers and eyewitnesses mixed with video footage of the investigation. Old photos documenting the history of the church and its clergy add more of a realistic flavor to it. Every actor in the film is intent on proving to the audience what they are seeing is genuine.
Only available physically on DVD, “The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill” provides consumers with a few special features. Cast and director commentary is included. A featurette entitled “Tales from the Graveyard” gives us more insight into the movie. Deleted scenes are found as well.
“The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill” is unrated, but would earn an R if assessed by the MPAA. Frightening images, profanity, and nudity would garner the decision. Honesty, the full frontal nudity was unnecessary and could’ve been avoided. The scene pops up towards the end of the film and lasts about one minute.
Another subject I would like to address is the religious factors alluded to in “The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill.” Some of the concepts explored in the movie point in the right direction if you’re a Christian. One guy prays for protection and another man warns against the dangers of using Ouija boards to contact the dead. He also states the difference between ghosts and demons, which many people confuse when it comes to the supernatural.
The investigators in “The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill” still use a Ouija board and other similar tools to contact the dead. They just “hope” that any doorways they open while doing so will be closed afterwards. How often does that happen? It doesn’t happen very often as you’ll witness here.
Does “The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill” pull every cliché punch possible when it comes to the “found footage” technique of filmmaking? You bet it does… and it does it darn well. Every camera angle and every sound amplified leaves the viewer in a constant state of panicked anticipation, just waiting for something to jump out at you. It’s the perfect example of the cinematography technique being utilized correctly.
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