Paranormal Xperience (2014)

Paranormal Xperience is a hugely disappointing film. Beginning superbly, with a great opening, genuinely interesting characters and an intriguing plot, Paranormal Xperience quickly descends into cliché and a bumbles towards a very predictable dénouement.

Paranormal Xperience begins with a group of students tied to chairs for a parapsychology experiment, where their professor tries to prove to them the ‘power of the mind’… but takes it a little too far.

From here Ángela (Amaia Salamanca) takes up a project to investigate – and debunk – the mystery of ‘Whisper’, a mining town with a history of the paranormal. Apparently a malicious doctor was locked inside the salt mines to die, but has been returning to haunt and kill people decades later.

Ángela takes her little sister and four of her friends on a trip to the town, bringing recording equipment in an attempt to destroy the myth and prove – like she believes – that the paranormal is merely psychological mind games.

Unfortunately for Ángela, her little sister begins to see a strange figure lurking in the shadows and then – inexplicably – Paranormal Xperience becomes a slasher film with an obvious twist.

The evil ghost of ‘Doctor Matarga’ stalks the youngsters and kills them one-by-one, with barbed wire, hooks and car doors, brutally murdering them for no discernable reason.

Paranormal Xperience is an immensely frustrating watch. The opening 30 minutes are brilliant, with a very smart prologue and a decent build of characters. The acting throughout is great too. Even Doctor Matarga and his creepy mask are excellent.

With a tag like “From the producers of The Orphanage and Julia’s Eyes” I had expected so much more, but despite beginning originally – and really well – the moment the characters arrive at the ‘mine’, the clichés roll out and Paranormal Xperience becomes a film we’ve seen a thousand times before.

The plot collapses into a very derivative slasher flick, with the characters doing idiotic things, splitting up, failing to use weapons and generally acting like cannon fodder in “I Know What You Did Last Cliché”. And the twist? It’s flagged throughout and comes as absolutely no surprise. And even if it is surprising to you, it certainly makes no goddamn sense. A very frustrating watch.

Thankfully Paranormal Xperience doesn’t scrimp on the blood and violence, so even when the clichés are slapping you in the face there’s at least some decent slasher horror work going on.

The official title is actually Paranormal Xperience 3D. Unfortunately I do not have a 3D TV. Apparently Gorepress doesn’t get enough revenue from its zero sponsors to buy me a new television… So I cannot comment on the 3D or its quality. I will say it’s pretty clear the film was filmed in 3D, as things are lobbed at the screen for no discernable reason. Not quite as shoddily done as My Bloody Valentine 3D, but the overall direction has clearly been affected by this in-ya-face gimmick and the film does not benefit from it at all.

As a feature debut for both writer Daniel Padró and director Sergi Vizcaino it’s a decent attempt, but it’s only the actors that really come away unscathed. Despite an occasionally ridiculous piece if dialogue, the actors all do very well, helping craft memorable characters – alongside Daniel Padró’s script – so it’s not utterly reprehensible. Paranormal Xperience is professionally done, but just a tragic disappointment.

Unfortunately the forgettable (and awful) title, alongside the explosion of cliché, horrible plotting and unsurprising ‘reveal’ means Paranormal Xperience will slip into anonymity. A shame considering how excellent the start is. Maybe just watch the first 30 minutes and make up your own ending? Whatever the case, Paranormal Xperience is a misstep from the producers of The Orphanage and Julia’s Eyes.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.