Flat Frights: Our Review of ‘Paranormal Prison’

Posted in Movies, VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload, What's Streaming? by - February 18, 2021
Flat Frights: Our Review of ‘Paranormal Prison’

Paranormal Prison is one of the most uninspired films under the ‘found footage subgenre’ from recent history. Or at least, one that studios released in the last couple of years.

The story follows a paranormal investigative Youtube channel heavily lacking in views. On the verge of a shutdown, they decide to investigate an abandoned prison. This is their final attempt to create a viral video to save their channel. Using new technology their science expert has just invented.

Writer and director Brian Jagger has a unique location for a horror film. And yet, he relies heavily on constant exposition that he gives in nearly every scene. None of the investigators and people at the prison with them can really experience anything without spoonfed context. They always have to explain exactly what is going on to the camera. 

Nearly all of the acting comes off as very plain and overacted. Virtually the only character who has any sort of development and a back story is Sara. By supposedly inventing technology that can differentiate the presence of a human and a spirit by the energy they omit. 

Any attempts at being remotely scary fall extremely flat and involve the camera abruptly cutting away and then going dark for a few seconds. It is very obvious when to expect for something creepy to happen. And that’s because hardly any variation in how it presents its scares. A few can even come off as unintentionally hilarious for all the wrong reasons.

Throughout the runtime, characters will continuously make jokes that come off as bland and start to become very annoying after a while. At certain moments it completely ruins most of the tension due in part to including those jokes.

Some of the only things the film gets right are in the music being ominous and creating an eerie atmosphere. Even being more frightening than what it has been building up to. Also, the location itself of an abandoned prison can lead to so many great possibilities. There are the number of things you could do with such a claustrophobic environment. It’s a shame that it underutilized this environment. 

Certain found footage films can be very effective. And that’s because they attempt to make whatever the story is seem as real as possible. Like the many events could, or have actually happened in the past making them seem all the more unsettling. Paranormal Prison doesn’t attempt to suspend disbelief in the slightest way. With a last-minute twist pushing it even further out the window. At a run time of just over an hour, you would be better off watching short creepy videos actually on Youtube.

 

This post was written by
Daniel Neil is a developing young writer from the cold city of Calgary. To escape the climate he indulges in a love for films, novels, and comic books. He has a passion for Social Studies and pop culture and is pursuing new media, film production. During high school he participated in Model UN and Av club, managing AV for school events and assemblies, and organized a film fundraiser to raise money for Remembrance Day.
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