Review: Paranormal Asylum – The Revenge of Typhoid Mary / Cert: 18 / Director: Nimrod Zalmanowitz / Screenplay: Fred Edison / Starring: Aaron Mathias, Nathan Spiteri, Laura Gilreath, Grace Evans / Released: January 27th
Are you one of those people who look to see something good in every film you watch, no matter how bad it gets? Yeah, me too. Or at least I was until I saw Paranormal Asylum. Let’s just say, it’s not pretty.
The story of Paranormal Asylum revolves around two friends, Mark (Mathias) and Andy (Spiteri), who are looking to piece together a documentary chronicling the atrocities dished out to Mary Malone in the early 20th Century. Dubbed Typhoid Mary due to carrying typhoid, Mary was committed to an insane asylum for the latter days of her life, stuck in solitary confinement for apparently being behind the rise of typhoid fever. Seeing this as a great subject matter to give them their big break, Mark and Andy open up an investigation into what exactly happened. Despite being long dead, Typhoid Mary certainly isn’t going to stay buried.
Joining Mark and Andy, we have Andy’s girlfriend Michelle (Gilreath), who just happens to be the daughter of a psychic. Getting involved in more ways than she could’ve imagined, Michelle becomes a vital part of Typhoid Mary’s story, although, like pretty much everyone else in the film, the actress behind her, Laura Gilreath, likely wishes that she never signed a contract to appear in such a badly produced abomination of a movie.
Ripping off various spooky found footage films – yes, it’s one of those types – Paranormal Asylum is just plain awful. Mixing up the found footage approach with traditional shooting techniques, the film is bad on every single level. The acting is laughable, the effects shoddy at best, it’s poorly edited, we have a spirit that seemingly snores rather than spooks, and the script is so poorly put together that it seems like it’s the product of an infant playing with their own faeces. Nothing seems logical, natural, or genuine. In fact, you can’t help but feel so sorry for the actors involved. Yes, they may all be strikingly good-looking and well put-together, but such a poor script would struggle to get a decent turn out of Denzel Washington and an in-his-prime Robert De Niro.
The tagline reads “Some secrets are better left buried.” No, some movies are better left buried; buried deep underground, buried under a good few feet of cement, locked in a coffin with a curse placed on them. Oh, and set on fire. Whatever it takes to stop such an abortion of a movie to see the light of day. The one shining light of Paranormal Asylum is that it gives us all hope that we can one day be a filmmaker, regardless of how bad our films may be.