Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Episode 50 (2011)

The DVD cover looks creepy, but Episode 50 is a pretty poor show, as you will learn if you read my review.Episode 50 is a horror movie masquerading as a lost episode from a fictional TV show called Paranormal Investigators. As the title of this review suggests, it’s supposedly Episode 50.

The Paranormal Investigators TV show had a three-year run and was suddenly cancelled after the 49th episode. Or so the story goes. A set up like this suggests Episode 50 may be a found footage movie. However, if that’s what you are thinking, you are wrong.

Although some of the scenes in the movie are meant to be footage from security and hand-held cameras, Episode 50 has plenty of scenes that are shot in a conventional way.

If you are reading this Episode 50 review because you’ve seen the trailer and thought it looks good, you may have high hopes. Forget it. The trailer is misleading. It makes the movie look a lot more exciting than it is.

To be honest, 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 type of haunting (inhuman) is the most dangerous.

An introduction like that makes it pretty obvious an inhuman haunting is on the cards and hints the paranormal investigators will be dealing with a bad-ass entity. 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.

Episode 50 begins by showing a few minutes of episode 49, which is initially mostly security camera footage of a couple named Walter and Mary who are freaking out because something strange is happening in their home.

This cues the entry of, paranormal investigators, Damon (Chris Perry) and Jack (Josh Folan), 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 deprivation and is there any wonder that Walter and Mary are hallucinating ghosts? Case solved.

Paranormal Investigators, Damon and Jack, talk shop in a scene from Episode 50 (2011)

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. Instead of pulling out a ouija board, they find scientific answers for any activity that’s being misinterpreted as a haunting.

The real story begins in a solicitor’s office where Damon and Jack are introduced to Mr Worthington. He’s the 38-year-old son of one of the wealthiest men in America. He’s got plenty of money but he doesn’t have his health. Worthington is going to be dead in six months. He’s got pancreatic cancer.

Worthington is aware the team has been trying to gain access to the West Virginia State Lunatic Asylum and have been refused entry. The Asylum is supposedly the most haunted piece of property in the entire United States of America and is popularly known as The Gateway to Hell. A lot of people have died there. Too many. That’s why the city council refuses to let anyone go inside.

However, the team has such a good reputation for debunking hauntings Worthington has managed to get them in. He’s arranged access for an entire weekend.

A weekend pass to the Gateway to Hell? Who could resist that? The team are keen to go but Damon smells a rat and asks Worthington, “What’s the catch?”

The dying man tells him there isn’t one. He says, in his short life he has screwed over more women than Tiger Woods and got into more fights than Mike Tyson. On top of this, he’s 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 the haunting, Worthington has nothing to worry about, except being dead of course. Does this set-up remind you of The Legend of Hell House? It should. It’s more or less the same but The Legend of Hell House is a far superior movie. [My Review]

When Damon and Jack arrive at the asylum along with fellow team members Andi and Jose, they discover Worthington has arranged a little surprise for them. The guy believes in hedging his bets so he has also arranged for a second team of paranormal investigators to be there as well.

The other team works for a rival TV network and it does things very differently. Instead of trying to debunk hauntings they aim to prove an afterlife exists.

Yep! Episode 50 looks like being God squad Vs. the sceptics and, needless to say, the two teams don’t get along. It’s a case of like it or lump it though. If they can’t put their differences aside, neither team will be allowed inside.

Necessity makes strange bedfellows of the two teams. They put aside their differences and get on with the job in hand.

Mess with ghosts and they'll mess with youUnfortunately for all concerned, both teams are in over their heads. The spirits of the dead really do walk the corridors of the West Virginia State Lunatic Asylum and they not only show up on the cameras; they also manifest in front of the team members. These entities are anything but shy and their actions are far from being hospitable.

Episode 50 has a runtime of about 80 minutes. That’s pretty short and, although it not the worst horror movie I’ve seen, it’s not a movie I’d want to sit through for a second time. It’s more of an idea-driven movie than a character-driven one. As a result of this, viewers don’t get much chance to know the characters well enough to care what happens to them. It’s a pity because the actors are pretty good and deserved more of a chance to show what they could do.

(Scary?) Ghost from Episode 50The special effects in Episode 50 are not fantastic, but they are adequate. Some of the ghosts are pretty scary but the fact that viewers initially only see quick flashes of them probably helps a lot.

The choice of backing music is also good but overall there is more wrong with Episode 50 than there is right with it and the movie is topped off by a finale that’s more terrible than terrifying.

The ending is terrible for the investigators and terrible for the viewers who have just wasted nearly one-and-a-half hours of their life just to encounter a demon that is less believable than the ghosts were.

Okay, you’ve reached the end of my Episode 50 Movie review. Well done! It got kinda long. I know the review is pretty negative but if you are thinking of watching Episode 50, its best that you know what to expect. My advice is give it a miss. Having said that, If you’ve got time to kill and feel like punishing yourself for some past misdemeanour, Episode 50 should do the trick.