Studio: Gravitas Ventures
Director: Alec Tuckman
Writer: Alec Tuckman, Eric Bram
Producer: Eric Bram, Alec Tuckman
Stars: Lulu Brud, C.J. Baker, Elissa Dowling, Dan Holahan, Jenn McAllister, Shannon Gannon, Jennifer Holloway, Ronnie Alvarez
The ghost of a murdered Hollywood actress haunts a teenage girl whose family moves into the star’s former Beverly Hills home.
Researching the 2013 release “Paranormal Apparition: Revenge from Beyond the Grave” provides more intrigue than the movie itself ever could. According to IMDB, “Paranormal Apparition” is actually a 2007 film called “Cold Blood Canyon.” This was just before “Paranormal Activity” became a worldwide sensation, so it was too soon yet to piggyback on a similarly worded title.
The cover art for “Paranormal Apparition” includes two rave review quotes, presumably from critics. Scream Queens says the film “surpasses Paranormal Activity.” Deadly Drive In adds the praise “haunting and chilling.”
Here is the thing. Do a Google search for “Deadly Drive In” and at least the first 40 results are all for video games or news reports on fatal car wrecks. Try “Deadly Drive-In” and the results are similar. Deadlydrivein.com does not exist, nor are there any Twitter accounts or Facebook pages registered with those words. So what exactly is “Deadly Drive In?”
Ditto “Scream Queens.” Surprisingly, there is currently not a screamqueens.com. The VH1 television show with that title has a Twitter account, and that is it. There once was a Scream Queens Illustrated magazine, but that ceased publication many years ago. So what exactly is “Scream Queens?”
Hit the MVD Entertainment Group website for product details on the DVD and in addition to the Deadly Drive In quote, they have one from Awesome Mag UK stating that the movie “reminded me of Paranormal Activity but much cooler.” Guess what happens when “Awesome Mag UK” is entered into Google? Although there is a Tumblr page for an Awesome Mag, it appears to be based in Egypt.
Best-case scenario: all of the above media outlets actually exist and they each coincidentally do a p*ss poor job of self-marketing to the point where they cannot be found with an Internet search engine. Worst-case scenario: one or more of these accolades are fictional. Either way, none of them can be verified. And even if they are not blatant lies, they are still blatantly wrong.
At the time of this writing, seventeen IMDB users had scored the movie with a perfect ten, which confirms one of two things. Only seventeen people worked on the film or only seventeen production personnel could be bothered to stuff the ballot box.
IMDB also lists the movie’s budget at $1,750,000. Whoever typed that figure needs to clean his/her keyboard. Clearly the zero button became stuck and entered three more digits than it should have. However, props of “well done” go to the person who chose $1.75 million as the number. Faking it with an even $2,000,000 would have been too obvious. Are things sounding fishy yet?
Danni and her parents have just moved into the former Beverly Hills home of murdered starlet Stephanie Halstead. As is usual in such circumstances, the property came cheap courtesy of Stephanie’s rumored murder on the premises at the hands of her boyfriend Bruce Steinhauser. Bruce walked free since Stephanie’s body was never recovered. Now, despite being as vanilla as horror movie murders can be, the house is somehow a hotspot for photo-snapping tourists and media paparazzi cast from a group of random day laborers outside of Home Depot.
New “what the?” reactions come steadily at five-minute intervals. The laughable portrayal of a news media mob outside the house is award worthy compared to the lot of occult enthusiasts occupying scenes of black magic mumbo jumbo. “Paranormal Apparition” presents a hippie psychic in a Tommy Chong headband and a gypsy fortuneteller with a crystal ball as supposedly powerful people possessing the dark secrets to cheat death.
For what very little it is worth, the haunted house ghost story adds some pseudo-witchcraft and body swapping to its dismal tale of meandering madness. Even with all that evil running rampant, the film’s idea of creating scares is limited to a jumbled montage of radio static mixed with blue-tinted flashes of Ouija boards, demonology book pages, and chalk outlines on a sidewalk. When not aping outdated Nine Inch Nails music videos, “Paranormal Apparition” treats its viewers to ghostly thrills in the form of a spirit that knocks over a nail polish bottle or casts a poorly superimposed shadow on the wall.
“Paranormal Apparition” bathes head-to-toe with cement shoes in an ocean of amateur production values. The police have a better chance of finding Stephanie Halstead’s body than anyone does of finding an ounce of inspiration onscreen. If one-tenth of the effort put into trumping up the film’s IMDB page was put into the acting, script, cinematography, or anything else about the movie, “Paranormal Apparition” might have been worth watching. As it is, it most certainly is not.
Review Score: 20