Studio: Uncork'd Entertainment
Director: David Chirchirillo (as Duke Hitchcock)
Writer: Ian Asher, David Chirchirillo, Chris W. Freeman
Producer: Chris W. Freeman, Rhett Giles, Rib Hillis, Justin Jones
Stars: Tom Downey, Jennefer Ludwigsen, Rib Hillis, Eve Mauro, Adrian Kirk, Vai Tiare, Josef Cannon, Trent Haaga, Louis Mandylor
An FBI specialist team investigates paranormal phenomenon at the reportedly haunted Woodburrow Prison.
“616: Paranormal Incident” starts with a scene so out of place that I wondered if the DVD manufacturer stamped in a cut from another film by mistake. “616” is “found footage,” but the first sequence is not. In a scene so blown out that sunglasses may be required, a woman receives a DVD from her frantic husband telling her that what she is about to see is real, and she has to make sure the footage goes public. It was not until I reviewed this scene again after the credits that I realized this was the same lead actor from the film and not a separate, deranged deep-sea fisherman. Which is too bad, because realizing who he is creates a continuity issue I will circle back to later.
Unsatisfied with just one pointless prologue, “616” shoehorns in a second time filler made to look like a poor man’s Bangbros clip. An accented cameraman convinces an exotic hottie to bare her breasts in a haunted prison by assuring her that the bloodied walls are just covered in strawberry jam. After she pulls down her top the third time, the daring duo has their sexcapade cut short when a white-eyed whatever makes them the first casualties.
Having ticked the nudity box off its checklist, “616” then starts the actual movie. Woodburrow Prison once housed the criminally insane until it fell into disrepair and became a paranormal hotspot. A team of FBI agents tasked with investigating the property went missing there in the 1990’s. Apparently backlogged, hopefully with real cases, the FBI is now getting around to assigning another team to research the building and then reduce it to rubble when they are finished.
While “616: Paranormal Incident” is not a direct sequel to the 2011 film “Paranormal Incident” (review here), they are loosely connected in that they share a character. More specifically, they have a character with the same name. Presumably, the lead FBI agent named Watts is the same Watts from the end of “Paranormal Incident” and that is the extent of their relation. Rest assured though, the two films are still kindred spirits in that both are poorly produced “found footage” films from Marquis Productions and are memorable mainly for being forgettable.
“616” has a clever conceit for justifying the POV footage as well as the reason for filming everything. Each of the agents is outfitted with a high-tech goggle rig that includes a camera on one side and a light on the other. This is a smart idea for “found footage,” but it introduces a unique problem. Since everyone has his/her own camera, they explore the prison separately. As they are not in a group, they often only communicate if they are giving a sitrep or a status update. So now, not only are there boring sequences of empty hallway explorations, but most of these scenes are silent, too.
The team is not strictly limited to goggle cams, either. Someone took the time to wire the entire building with an uncountable number of stationary cameras that are conveniently available whenever a scene requires a long shot or needs to cut away from an unconvincing stunt. Even the tech monitoring events from the back of a van has three different cameras pointed at him.
Over the course of their investigation, the team discovers a woman who appears to be possessed. She occupies the time of a parapsychologist who confines the woman to a cell with a curly-q line of salt. Meanwhile, the rest of the team confronts personal demons when they step into alternate realities. An end scene with a young boy holding his own umbilical cord is a creepy image, but feeling any of the agents’ terror is terribly difficult. Not only are they unconvincing as FBI agents, they are unconvincing as characters.
To make one agent a chauvinist jerk, his dialogue is routinely peppered with sexist comments that make multiple team members uncomfortable. The agent in charge only admonishes him with the equivalent of a “cool it.” That an elite FBI team would entertain his behavior in 2013 is ridiculous. Another agent realizes something is amiss upon discovering a photograph atop a rubble pile that is of herself as a child. She mentions it over the radio and is told, “bag it Frost. Good work.” Then she resumes her search. I don’t know about you, but I would have quite a few more questions if unexplainable photos of my family appeared in the dirt piles of a ghost building.
Remember that DVD recorded by the lead FBI agent that I mentioned in the opening paragraph? At no point does this agent ever record that DVD, nor does he even have the cap and hoody worn in that video. In fact, (mild SPOILER) it would have been impossible for him to record the DVD anyway, much less have it delivered to his house. Toss in that this is supposed to be Portland, but tall palm tress are clearly in the background, and it is questionable if anyone paid attention to any of the details in the film.
The cherry on top is the epilogue card claiming that the movie was a recreation made from declassified government footage. As if that explains the poor production value and staged acting. Anyone who needs a reason to start a fight with someone should watch “616: Paranormal Incident” in a double feature with the first “Paranormal Incident.” With luck, each person will have a different opinion. That way, when it is mercifully over, the two people can make their own entertainment by arguing over which of the two movies is worse.
NOTE: "616: Paranormal Incident" is also known as "Paranormal Incident 2."
Review Score: 20