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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Paranormal Diaries - Clophill


Starring: Craig Stovin, Criselda Cabitac, Kevin Gates, Michael Bartlett and Rob Whitaker

Distributor: Second Sight
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 14 October 2013

In Clophill village, in Shropshire, is an old ruined church with quite a notorious reputation. It was supposedly abandoned by the then vicar, who experienced a number of... let’s say, troubled times whilst it was in his care. Much later, a black mass was held there, with sacrificed animals, and graves and their stones were desecrated. There have been several sightings of a ghost or apparition near the building. Even very recently, rituals have been held there, and young people in particular turn up there for a laugh and to prove their fear or bravery. Now, a film crew have decided to carry out an investigation into the stories behind the church, and to discover for themselves if there is any paranormal presence at large. Over three nights, they attempt to contact the spirit world, and search the spooky location, alert for EMF sounds and visitations. They experience much more than they could ever have expected. Their nerves are in shreds as they decide to stand alone for ten minutes each. And then one of their own goes missing...

This is a work of fiction very carefully made to look and feel like a documentary. The moment I realised this I had a flashback to when I was in a cinema watching The Blair Witch Project. That film is one of only two where the cinema viewers collectively moaned a huge sigh of disappointment. It was successful only because people expected something to happen, and word quickly spread that it didn’t have any sort of conclusion at all. So, I was pretty much expecting a cross between that and an episode of Most Haunted, which is also a load of contrived nonsense.

I don’t want people to be misled into thinking there are special effects ghouls, demons and ghosts jumping out from behind every tree and gravestone, because it just doesn’t happen. In fact, very little does happen – but significantly more than in The Blair Witch Project. The writer and director goes for the more low-key and believable touch. Not to mention the much cheaper option. The bottom line is, if this were an episode of Paranormal Encounters or A Haunting, I would no doubt see it as an okay representation, and reasonably entertaining. However, as a feature film it just doesn’t reward the viewer, and so it rather fizzles out at the end.

Extras include a commentary with the writer and director.  A second commentary with cast and crew, and Tales from the Graveyard: the deleted scenes.


Ty Power

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