DEAD CROSSROADS

PrintE-mail Written by John Townsend

Dead Crossroads lurks somewhere between a true life ghost hunter’s video diary and a Paranormal Activity-style found footage film. That Fabien Delage’s episodic mockumentary, seemingly put together for the price of a train ticket and some camera batteries, creates a creepy atmosphere noticeably lacking in so many more highly funded productions is of great credit to its young filmmaker. With Delage’s travelogues, the air at times is so thick with portent you can almost touch it through the screen.

Delage and his partner, Julien Mazzitelli, are urban explorers with an interest in the histories of old abandoned buildings. For Dead Crossroads, they choose to explore locations with macabre, sinister pasts, decaying farms and crumbling mansions whose walls witnessed some of the most gruesome and terrifying events France has known. With the remit of spending 24 hours there, one day and one usually long night, Delage and Mazzitelli hope to prove the existence of ghosts without the need for high-tech gizmos and teams of scientists.

The cleverness of Dead Crossroads is that you’re never quite sure what’s real and what isn’t; there are some scenes that suggest some jiggery-pokery, but there are others where you’re never entirely certain and some that are clearly not faked at all. The way these short 15-minute episodes are edited together makes it somewhat irrelevant though. The flat, monotone voiceover creates real tension, and the simplicity of the camerawork encourages the viewer to ignore any of the pre-conceived ideas you may have over the format. This is a series that allows you to ignore your cynicism and just enjoy the adventures of two extremely engaging individuals, and ultimately make up your own mind.

If Most Haunted and Yvette Fielding running around “spooky” tourist spots with the psychic-of-the-week jumping at shadows is how you see ghost hunting then Dead Crossroads will be a welcome breath of stale air. This is a show that understands its concept, that doesn’t try to frighten the audience through traditional clichés and the use of well-used paranormal paraphernalia such as Ouija boards and temperature analysis. This is simple, well-crafted and interesting filmmaking that relies on location and history to hold the audience’s attention.

Is there some embellishment? Possibly. Is some of the footage real? Perhaps. Whatever the truth, by the end you will undoubtedly be entertained, you might be a little scared… and you may even believe.

DEAD CROSSROADS / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: FABIEN DELAGE / STARRING: FABIEN DELAGE, JULIEN MAZZITELLI / RELEASE DATE: TBC

 


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