"Mary Malone (aka Typhoid Mary) was committed to a NY insane asylum to live in solitary after being blamed for spreading Typhoid Fever in the early 20th Century. After decades in isolation she died alone on North Brother Island. Now, nearly 100 years later, two best friends and aspiring filmmakers are setting out to find out what really happened. What starts as a simple investigation turns into a battle for survival, as they discover Mary may be dead, but she's certainly not gone."
If you've been wandering around Walmart recently, you've probably seen this DVD a few times and wondered if it's worth watching. That coverart looks spooky, doesn't it? I bet you think it'll be shit-yer-pants scary! But let's cut straight through the chase here, it's not!
"Paranormal Asylum" is also nothing to do with the "Paranormal Activity" movies or even The Asylum's "Paranormal Entity", but you have to give the filmmakers credit for deliberately creating a confusingly named product which someone is going to buy by accident eventually. The thing is, the plot is nothing like any of those movies unless being a clone of "Grave Encounters" or its sequel counts in any way. Unfortunately, I haven't watched more than 5 minutes of either (except on fast-forward), so I can't say for sure. The word on the street, however, is that "Paranormal Asylum" is an even lower-budget knock off of that already low-budget crap, and I have no reason to doubt it.
Judged on its own merits, "Paranormal Asylum" is absolutely bloody terrible. The story barely makes sense, and the camerawork is so godawful that it's tiresome to watch. It's as if whoever filmed it has no idea how cameras work, how to frame anything, or how to position themselves for the best view. Couple that with the editing which cuts too quickly between shots, and it often becomes nauseating to boot. While I can accept that some of the earlier footage is supposed to look amateur due to small cameras being set up everywhere, in scenes where it's not supposed to be obvious that anyone is holding a camera (and close-ups take over which swing back and forth or whirl around characters), it's actually worse!
Like most low-budget horror movies, the acting is okay in some places and non-existent in others. It's so varied this time though, it makes me wonder if there was ever a complete script involved or if scenes were made up as they went along. Apart from a load of exposition, the rest of the dialogue sounds like it belongs in the cut scenes of a computer game or some crappy Japanese cartoon. Maybe it's just because Nathan Spiteri (who plays Andy) has that kind of voice and delivery, but it's more likely to be because everything is so disjointed and hastily thrown together.
|Tying up your possessed fiancée and confining her to bed always ends well.|
A somewhat hilarious scene (which isn't meant to be) is when Michelle (Laura Gilreath) gets possessed by the spirit of Typhoid Mary and turns into a flickering escapee from one of those bad '80s computer game movies. Watching her teleport between steps all the way to her car amused me for all the wrong reasons, and I couldn't take anything seriously after that. It's a shame because Laura Gilreath is uber hot and tends to perk things up considerably otherwise. There's no nudity, but at least she strips down to her bra and knickers eventually.
The other main character, Mark (Aaron Mathias), who has the best (albeit far too brief) supernatural encounters, does slightly better overall, despite taking approximately 47 minutes to realise that he's been seeing ghosts! Aaron Mathias seems to be a likeable chap with the right kind of borderline leading man looks to stand out although he doesn't do anything very memorable here. I suppose he does "scared" well enough, but he's the only one who is likely to be affected by any of the jump scares.
Outside of the threesome, minor characters randomly come and go with no rhyme or reason behind their appearances other than how Andy sets up appointments with them for Mark. How Andy knows any of these people remains a mystery within another mystery, especially as the ability to tell a story is not this movie's strong point.
I'm not going to spoil the ending for you because it's as stupid as everything else. Although it ties this mess together in the best way it can, it's completely out of left field and really not worth suffering through the rest of the movie to get to.
The artwork is the best part!
|In that case, I'd hate to see a paranormal film that gets it wrong!|
|And some movies are better off not being made.|
Don't confuse it with this:
|For the love of God, make this cloning stop!|
It's just as bad though.