October Horrorshow: Paranormal Investigation

Just when I thought Amazon had cornered the market on films so obscure they don’t have Wikipedia pages, Netflix steps up their game. Paranormal Investigation, the 2018 found footage ghost flick from director Franck Phelizon, is so obscure that not only is it nowhere to be found on Wikipedia (as of this writing), its IMDb page is very sparse. There’s not a single cast member with an associated headshot, and most have only this film as their sole credit. I wish I could write in some greater detail about the cast, but that’s going to be difficult. The film’s credits are as sparse as its internet presence.

What I can write for certain is that the film stars Andrei Indreies as Andrei, a thirty-something fellow from Romania who has his own ghost hunting internet show. As the film opens, he’s about to embark on a new investigation. In France, a group of students gathered one eve around a Ouija board, and it looks like one of the youths, Dylan (tough to say who played Dylan — maybe Jean-Baptiste Heuet, maybe Cedric Henquez, maybe Pierre Porquet), ended up possessed. Andreis was contacted by the youth’s parents, so he’s off to France to investigate. Andrei sets up cameras all over the house, and what viewers get afterwards is every ghost hunting horror flick they’ve ever seen before, combined with a whopping helping of The Exorcist.

Dylan is indeed possessed, and after all the setup, a priest arrives on scene to perform an exorcism. Maybe the priest was played by Jose Atuncar, or perhaps it was Antoine Rodriguez. Who knows? No matter who played the priest, Phelizon had him show up on scene like he was Max von Sydow. It was shameless. Pro tip for all you potential filmmakers out there: If a huge chunk of your movie is a ripoff of a much better movie, try to shy away from paying homage to said better movie. It just makes things worse.

We get it, Mr. Phelizon. You liked The Exorcist. So did we. But if this flick had taken any more from The Exorcist, you guys would owe William Peter Blatty money.

So, it rips off The Exorcist, and it rips off ghost hunting films and shows in general. The least it could do after all this thievery is be worth watching, right? Nope. Paranormal Investigation is a stinker. It’s even more generic than its title. There are some occasional jitters to be had, but not much in the way of scares. The cast are amateurs through and through. Even speaking a foreign language, I could tell they were flat.

This is a film that would have found zero audience were it not for a streaming service like Netflix. They’re desperate for content, and hoover up anything they can find on the cheap, being only slightly more discriminating than Amazon. The internet is fantastic for getting creators’ work out there for people to find, but with the wheat comes a lot of chaff.

Charmless, dull, incompetent, and without a whiff of originality, Paranormal Investigation is 92 minutes of my life I would like to have back. It falls way down the Watchability Index, settling in the bottom 10 at #231, between The Bronx Executioner and Mazes and Monsters. Stay away.

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