Episode 50 (2011)
by Joe & Tess Smalley
Episode 50 is the
supposedly never before seen 50th episode of a fictional television
show called Paranormal
Investigators. The show had been running for three years,
but then, after 49 episodes, it was suddenly cancelled. This sounds
like it’s going to be a found footage movie, doesn’t it? It’s not. Some
of the scenes are footage from security cameras and hand-held cameras,
but they are mixed with plenty of traditionally shot scenes.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Episode
50, you may have high hopes for the movie. Sadly the
trailer is misleading because it makes Episode 50 seem a
lot better than it is.
The movie starts off okay, with some eerie music, a
black screen and a few lines of text that explain the four different
types of haunting. The fourth one ( inhuman) is the most dangerous and
don’t you just know—right there and then—that an inhuman will be thrown
into the mix somewhere along the line. My hopes soared like a bird. A
couple of minutes later I was brought back down to earth with a sudden
jolt and the first scene was all that it took to ruffle my feathers.
begins by showing a few minutes of episode 49, which is initially
mostly surveillance cam footage of Walter and Mary, who are freaking
out because something strange is happening in their home. Enter
paranormal investigators Damon and Jack, who successfully explain
everything to the troubled homeowners. The house is not haunted at all.
There are some electrical problems, mice are living in the walls, and
dodgy fumes are getting into the air intake because some paint thinners
are stored in the basement. Throw in a little sleep
depravation and is there any wonder that Walter and Mary are
hallucinating ghosts? Case solved.
I’m not sure that episode 49 adds anything to the movie, but at least
it gives the viewer an insight into how Damon, Jack and their team
work. They find the scientific answers for any activity that is related
to supposed hauntings.
The story proper begins in a solicitor’s office
where Damon and Jack are introduced to Mr Worthington. He is 38 years
old and the eldest son of one of the wealthiest men in America, but he
will be dead in six months because he has pancreatic cancer.
Worthington is aware that the team have been trying to gain access to
the West Virginia State Lunatic Asylum, but have been refused entry.
The Asylum is supposedly the most haunted piece of property in the
entire United States of America and is more popularly known as The
Gateway to Hell. Too many people have died there though, so
now the town council allow nobody inside.
The team has such a good reputation for debunking hauntings though,
that Worthington has arranged for them to have access to the Asylum for
a full weekend. “But what’s the catch?” Damon asks. “There is none,”
Worthington replies. In his short life he claims to have screwed over
more women than Tiger Woods, got into more fights than Mike Tyson,
drunk enough whiskey and done enough drugs to put John Belushi to
shame, and broken every single one of God’s commandments ten times
over. “If you can’t debunk West Virginia,” he explains, “I
know that I am going to spend an eternity burning in Hell.” Of course
if the team can debunk it Worthington has nothing to worry about,
except being dead of course. Does this set-up remind anyone of The Legend of Hell House?
When Damon and Jack arrive at the asylum, along with fellow team
members Andi and Jose, they discover that Worthington has arranged a
little surprise for them. The guy believes in hedging his bets and has
also arranged for a team from a rival network to join them and the ASSC
team do things very differently because there prime objective is to
prove the existence of an afterlife. Yep! It’s the God squad and the
two teams do not get on, but they will have learn to do so because
neither team will be allowed inside without the other.
Necessity makes strange bedfellows so the two teams put aside their
differences and get on with the job in hand. Unfortunately for all
concerned both teams are in over their heads. The spirits of the dead
really do walk the corridors of the West Virginia and they not only
show up on the cameras, they also manifest in front of the team members
and their actions are far from hospitable.
50 has a runtime of about 80 minutes and although it not
the worst movie I have ever seen it is somewhere down at the bottom of
my list and is not a movie I would want to sit through for a second
time. It is more of an idea driven movie than a character driven one
and as a result of this the viewer is never really given
much chance to get to know the characters well enough to care
what happens to them. It’s a pity because the actors are pretty good
and they deserved more of a chance to show what they could do.
The special effects are not fantastic, but they are
adequate and some of the ghosts are pretty scary; probably helped by
the fact that the viewer initially only sees flashes of them. The
choice of backing music is also good, but overall there is more wrong
with Episode 50
that there is right with it and the movie is topped off with a finale
that is more terrible than terrifying. Terrible for the investigators
and terrible for the viewer who has just wasted nearly one and a half
hours of their life just to encounter a demon that is less believable
than the ghosts were. If you’ve got time to kill and feel like
punishing yourself for some past misdemeanour Episode 50 should
do the trick. If, however, you are looking for something that will
leave a more positive last impression than a lack-lustre demon could
ever provide I’d give this one a wide berth and pick something else
Sandra M. Schneider
ASSC & PI Crew
Dr. Annie McCoy
Dr. Susanne Cline
ASSC & PI Crew
ASSC & PI Crew
ASSC & PI Crew
Dr. Alanis Panfield
& Rental Options~