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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD. Metrodome.

Episode 50The glut of ghost hunting TV shows that are stinking up broadcasting schedules across the world seem ripe for horror movie deconstruction, looking at what might happen if the shows stumbled across something genuine. Episode 50 tries to do precisely that, but is such a dismal failure that you’ll find yourself wishing for C-list celebs screaming about sounds no one else can hear instead.

The ‘episode 50’ of the title is the final instalment of TV show 'Paranormal Investigators', and the bulk of this film is supposedly the previously unseen footage from that show. This might suggest a mockumentary or ‘found footage’ approach, but in fact, the film is a clumsy mix of those techniques with a more straightforward narrative, with some really unconvincing special effects thrown in.

Opening up with Episode 49 – in which an alleged haunting is debunked by the ‘paranormal investigators’, who specialise in finding non-supernatural (though scarcely more credible) reasons for hauntings, the film follows the crew of unbelievably obnoxious investigators who are given access to a disused asylum that is supposedly the home of several ghosts. Joining them is a group of religious supernatural investigators, who have a more traditional view of ghosts as the spirits of the dead. Invariably, the two teams butt heads as they disagree over the increasingly weird and threatening events that occur during their stay – but who is right? I’m pretty sure you can guess…

Unable to decide just what it wants to be, Episode 50 lurches from unconvincing TV show reconstruction to raw footage to ‘regular’ filmmaking, failing at all three. With intercut footage of piss-poor looking ghosts walking the corridors, multi-angle shots and dramatic cutting, you have to wonder why the ‘found footage’ technique was even toyed with, and it’s remarkable how the filmmakers have managed to get the reconstruction of something as commonplace as the ghost-hunting show so very, very wrong. What it does have in common with those shows is a whole lot of nothing happening for much of the duration – hardly what you want from a horror film.

But the biggest failing of this film, which is ostensibly a character-led piece, is the cast. It’s quite an achievement to have such a uniformly terrible bunch of actors filling up your cast, but Episode 50 manages it. Admittedly, even the world’s greatest actors would probably struggle to bring life to the characters here – the paranormal crew seem more like frat boys on a lark than a team who have been successful enough to produce 49 TV shows – and the dialogue is shockingly bad.

Ending with a laughably poor spot of CGI and a ridiculous dénouement, Episode 50 is staggeringly bad, made all the worse because you know there is the germ of a good idea here. One to avoid.





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