Give writer/director Matteo Ribaudo (Silverlake Video: The Movie) credit for trying, Beyond Paranormal isn’t your average paranormal horror movie. Opening with what appear to be light skinned Mayans, ancient astronauts and visions of them turning up in the present day, it’s not a typical ghost story.
Lilly aka Box Girl Lilly (Cortney Palm, Zombeavers, Hacksaw) is an aspiring social media influencer specializing in unboxing videos, hence the porn-sounding alias. She’s also about to make a film for director Chaz Gold (Oliver Cooper, Burying the Ex). He’s sent her a statue to help her get into character.
Her boyfriend Ray (Ryan Donowho, Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero, The Ganzfeld Haunting) isn’t happy about it as he, rather rightly, thinks Chaz is an asshole. He also thinks the statue has something evil attached to it. Cutting his finger on the statue’s fang doesn’t improve his opinion of it.
By the half-hour mark, I was seriously wondering just what the fuck was going on. Apart from the visions, there are scenes of a web show called Beyond Paranormal where Dr. Ulrich Von Strauss (Clint Howard, Evilspeak, The Church) is talking about time travel. Chaz is also having Lilly blackout their camcorder’s rec light so she can secretly film her and Ray during some S&M games.
So two out of three of Beyond Paranormal’s characters are extremely unlikeable. The third, Ray, is merely an annoying drunk. And the plot is all over the place and not making a bit of sense. Eventually, Lilly’s eyes roll back in her head, CGI hummingbirds splatter themselves against windows and things become even more confusing. I think it might be meant to be at least partially a comedy, but if so it isn’t funny, it’s just massively annoying.
Beyond Paranormal might have had a chance if the characters had been likeable. And if the script had made any sense. I mean there’s obviously meant to be some connection between Ray and Lilly and the Princess (Nikki Howard, 5 Headed Shark Attack) and Warrior (Anthony Cruz, The Story of God with Morgan Freeman) but what it is isn’t explained.
Instead, we get a psychic (Patricia Rae, Bloodsucking Bastards) with an accent that sounds like she’s channelling Bela Lugosi, a subplot with another hidden camera and assorted weirdness. And then in the last few minutes Beyond Paranormal takes yet another twist allowing it to end with what was supposed to be a big shock. It might have been if it made any sense, or if I still gave a damn by that point.
Things do get bloody in the final act, but unfortunately Beyond Paranormal relied on some very poor CGI to depict it. And it’s too bad because there’s a heart being ripped out and a head being torn off that could have been impressive if done right. Instead, the decapitation is actually laughable with cartoonish blood dripping from a prop head.
If Ribaudo had trimmed Beyond Paranormal down from the hundred minutes that it runs to seventy or eighty minutes and cut out many of the random scenes it would have been an improvement. As would tightening up the plot, even after it was over there were still major plot points that were unexplained or made no sense. The makings of a good film are present in Beyond Paranormal. Ribaudo had some interesting ideas but he couldn’t pull them together. He sets up some nice kills but couldn’t deliver on the effects. He does deliver Cortney Palm in her birthday suit, but that’s not enough reason to sit through this.
Beyond Paranormal is available on Digital, you can check the filmmaker’s website or its Facebook page for more information. It’s telling that the film only has one review on Amazon at the moment, a 10 out of 10 from Anthony Cruz, the actor who plays the warrior/alien/time traveller/evil spirit/whatever the hell it is.