Since October is just a few days away, you know the film studios are fully ready to unleash new horror flicks. It’s been a few months since my last contribution to the site, and I was more than happy to check out Matteo Ribaudo’s BEYOND PARANORMAL. Let’s take a quick look at the plot breakdown below:
A paranormal-inspired influencer named “Box Girl Lily” desperate for “likes” receives a creepy statue from the director of a project she’s working on. Little does she know that the lengths she’ll go to just for social media attention will cause a descent into madness for her cynical writer boyfriend, Ray.
At the beginning of the BEYOND PARANORMAL, I thought this was going to be mostly focused on Lily (Cortney Palm). However, about 20 minutes into the film, I realized it’s more centered around Ray (Ryan Donowho), Lily’s boyfriend. This grew apparent relatively quickly due to the fact that they emphasize that Lily is frequently aggravating Ray with her rehearsing, acting, and most importantly, live streaming. As previously mentioned, Lily is a struggling influencer desperate to become famous. Ray is a cynical writer who, for whatever reason, is matched up with Lily. Someone who seems to be the polar opposite of him. We also have a podcast, Beyond Paranormal, that the film will cut to on-screen. During the podcast scenes, we see an interview taking place with Dr. Ulrich Von Strauss (Clint Howard) and the podcast host Juice McDaniels (Erick Nathan). This conversation about ancient astronauts ties in with flashbacks to the past and things that are happening to Ray.
Ray frequently has visions of individuals from the past tied to a mysterious statue that Lily receives from her project director, Chaz. Within those visions, he sees ancient-looking, Aztec individuals that speak to him but also tries to kill him. This is paired with Lily’s extremely odd behavior that continues to build. I did feel like the visions and the weird stuff Lily was doing read as silly. But that seemed to be the direction they were going with it. In fact, I expected a straight-up horror film, and this turned out to be way more of a horror-comedy. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for me personally as I love a good mix of comedy with my supernatural stuff.
BEYOND PARANORMAL is a possession movie. That said, it does blend tropes of the run-of-the-mill possession film with its own little creative additions. The character visions Ray has mixed with the weird stuff Lily does is what makes it unique. Don’t get me wrong, it still contains a bunch of stuff like eyes rolling back into Lily’s head coupled with strange body contorting, levitation, all that usual stuff. The one thing I found a bit disappointing was the use of CGI blood in some of the more gruesome scenes. While showing something gory on-screen isn’t completely necessary to get your point across, I do think that the use of CGI instead of practical effects, particularly noticeable in one scene, made it look fake. This is a situation where I feel that they could have benefited from just cutting away from the imagery. I mean, any viewer will know what’s happening in the scenes I’m referring to. I always harp on how practical effects are essential but for this film, I think less would have actually been more.
The last 30 minutes of the film is when shit starts to get pretty real. While there still are elements of comedy, the film does start to get a bit more serious. Things take a darker turn as everything that built up through the film’s progression starts to come to a head. While some things about the movie were predictable, I still had a lot of fun watching it.
BEYOND PARANORMAL is a creative possession film that takes you down a different avenue and creates a clever new flavor in a sub-genre that has been used and abused for years. I recommend giving it a go and getting a breath of fresh air when it releases today on Digital.