Monday, September 22, 2014

The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill
Releases on DVD September 30th, 2014 (US)
1 hr 28 mins
Not Rated

Director: Kevin Gates & Michael Bartlett

Craig Stovin as Himself
Criselda Cabitac as Herself
Michael Bartlett as Himself
Rob Whitaker as Himself
Mark Jeavons as Himself
Kevin Gates as Himself

Review by Stephen M.

The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill takes a different spin on the usual found footage horror genre, going the route of a docufiction with interviews before and afterwards of the investigators' experience as well as footage of their nights at the location.  Clophill, located in England, has an old church ruins, formerly St. Mary Church, that has been the site of a black mass in the 1960s and continues to this day to be used by trespassers for rituals, ghost hunting and other paranormal activities.  The Writer/Director Kevin Gates does a great job in blending the fact and fiction to create a horror film that stands out from the Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activities type movies.

As with most documentaries and reality ghost hunting shows you may have seen, there is always a ton of down time before things start to happen.  It is usually during these moments in which intrigue is built up of which The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill does an adequate job.  We get a bit of history of the location, with the goosebumps moments coming from interviews of people who has had unusual experiences at the old ruins before.  What I also liked, if you're not familiar with these type of operations, is the background given as to the equipment and the individuals involved in the team that would investigate a paranormal activity.

Criselda Cabitac is the standout among the cast, as the fear she portrays in her face really grips you.  Most of the remaining investigators also does a decent job.  My least favorite would have to be Craig, who seems out of place at times.  As to the actual frightening scenes in the movie, personally I found to be a bit tame.  The scares are better illicited in the reactions from the cast especially Criselda and one of the interviewees then from what they actually witness on their third night.

Overall, I would recommend renting it if you are into this type of genre.  The movie does well in giving a history of the old church as well providing some good scares.  What I wish they could have done better was tie up some loose ends at the end, such as the disappearance of Kevin, and a discussion among the team of what they saw on their third night.  The scene just after their third night including footage of their driveway would have made a great introduction to a horror film.  But instead the film's ending leaves us hanging after a slow methodical build up throughout the film.


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