Haunted, a film Directed by Steven M Smith is an unusual addition to anyone’s ‘film’ collection, as instantly you question whether this is even a film to begin with, the content is very documentary based, opening with factual accounts and a history of an abandoned railway museum. All of the opening shots are filmed in documentary format and this continues throughout the film even when found footage elements are introduced.
A TV crew will film a paranormal investigation and obtain evidence that proves we are not alone. Something Evil awaits them! They will all discover the truth, that we are not alone.
The above quote is taken directly from the synopsis on the website, contestants are invited to visit a haunted railway as part of the show of which they are filming, they are all packed into a limousine and taken to the event. The whole scenes within the limo following the group around SHOULD of been filmed by a professional camera and a professional cinematographer but it looks as thou the entire film has been shot on someone’s mobile phone.
Budget constraints aside, decent camera’s should of been used to document the entire film from introduction to the actual paranormal investigations, rather than Sony handycam’s that cost £120. The only time still camera’s are used is to document an almost news style report at the start of the film and a few segments in between. Using handycams this instantly brings us into frustrating territory of moving shaky pictures, blurred images, and camera operators with shaky hands. Very poor quality recording even for a documentary style shooting as you’re watching a black screen for the duration, has anyone ever heard of night vision?
Next the acting, now the contestants themselves are not in on the game, they are not aware of what’s going on or what they have signed up too, however Jon our ‘medium’ gives the game away at every opportunity. The strategically placed actor in the movie is Jon Paul Gates a supposed ‘medium’ who describes what he is feeling and how strong a presence is in a particular area. I personally would of caught on very easily to this poor display as not only was the acting questionable, but his descriptions of certain ghosts and characters were so detailed that it was obvious they had been memorized from a script or prior knowledge. There is one scene where the ghost is apparently on top of Jon as he is weighed to the ground, I found this scene hysterical, I was literally crying with laughter of how poor he not only acted it out but how a ghost was piggy backing a ride around the railway yard.
For the first 30 minutes of the movie, the group have arrived, walked around some railway tracks and picked up some weird force that only Jon can feel yet no one around the group has even felt or experienced anything out of this world. Now Most Haunted the popular paranormal TV show would of thrust the audience into some action by now but for the opening 30 minutes of Haunted, nothing of the sort has happened, as it stands the documentary as I refuse to call it a film has displayed more history about the railways than anything remotely paranormal. Maybe a title change would be for the best? I am neither scared, nor intrigued at this moment in time, quite frankly I’m hoping this heats up and soon.
I feel as thou if this film was cut shorter, much shorter, with a voice over documentary style about where each group is going and what they are doing it would be much more easier to watch. Cut the best bits in, jump scares, certain happenings, instead of mundane walking around a railway yard, because as it stands I could grab a camera, head off out tonight and shoot an identical piece of footage, its neither scary nor intriguing. It needs to have production value and Haunted is really suffering from a lack of it as a result.
There is one event throughout the whole movie which is the main talking point and then the film has the audacity to kill people off towards the end after a whole run time of nothingness, no build up, no real meaning or reason why. It was basically like watching the worst episode of Most Haunted to find one of your group dead on the floor at the end of it, planned, boring and drawn out far too long.
Shorten the run time, have a voice over, documentary coverage and film, DON’T kill anyone off at the end with some cheesy fake characters who no one now believes and have a genuine vigil, no pranks or set ups and this could of been a cool little paranormal programme.
Sadly none of the above happened. What a shame. A few sequels are in the works, shorten the duration, fix the countless problems and maybe, just maybe show some true paranormal / experiences and I guarantee it will be more of a success !