Having made a couple movies with essentially no budget – the budget for the first one was the cost of the camera and that stuff, and any loose odds and ends. It wasn’t really a budget. I used a friend’s kids for actors, and their friends, and then some friends of friends and we did our thing. Saying I can appreciate what people do with no budget is really underselling my appreciation. Heck, my friends and I have done a film festival for a few years showing mainly low, low budget stuff. I get it. It’s not easy to pull off, but you can make some really good stuff with ‘no budget’. And honestly, if you’ve seen as many movies as I have then you start to understand that having money doesn’t make a good film, it just gives you a better chance at making a better film, or at least slicker film.
ATTACHED: PARANORMAL falls very soundly in the realm of ‘no-budget’ films – no shade thrown here at all – and I have to be honest that this is exactly the sort of movie that doesn’t need a big budget to work. It knows what it is, it stays in its lane, and it doesn’t lean on an overabundance of digital effects to make it seem as if they had a bigger budget.
What you have here is a ‘no-budget’ found footage horror movie that isn’t hampered by that fact at all.
The trouble unfortunately lies in how it all comes together.
ATTACHED: PARANORMAL is presented as footage discovered by a young man whose father is an officer and had the forthcoming footage in a box, which the kid discovered. The son assembles a cut of the footage and, I GUESS, added music stings (he says he ‘worked his magic, which could mean ANYTHING in the scope of things but I don’t think is to imply he altered things we see) but this is otherwise the footage that was entered into evidence to show the suicide of a man. What we find though, is that this was not as cut and dried as the police present it as being. What we find is that this man had been experiencing what seems like a haunting that only escalates the more attention it is shown, and it’s about to really get some attention.
The movie isn’t awful, despite my rating. The acting is serviceable, it doesn’t push things too hard, and does a decent job with tension. The problem is that this a very slow moving movie that shoe-horns a lot into the final fifteen minutes. It escalates too fast and the escalation comes off as corny. The filmmakers do a decent job of working around things by inserting LOTS of titlecards – to pad the run time I’d wager – but it sets the tone and lets you know what is coming. Unfortunately this goes from a slight haunting, to a definite haunting, to a demon and it doesn’t earn it. It definitely doesn’t earn the ending we’re presented with.
The bigger problem is that the movie looks awful. I get it, COMPLETELY. This was a film done with natural and ambient lighting but no ‘movie’ lighting. Not a big deal…unless the film is too dark to really see some of it clearly, and while it’s very Dogma95 and naturalistic…it doesn’t help. If nothing else they should have used more lighting in the house to make things easier to see. This also makes some of the close up confessional shots a little blurry, which is a drag.
I applaud them for making a feature and there are some things here to work from, some things that show they know what they are doing, but this film just doesn’t work. It’s boring, the image too dark at times, and the climax seems unearned and lazy.
Definitely a found footage you can skip.
1 out of 5
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