You know the expression don’t fly too close to the sun… well it appears I might have done the opposite. I might have dug so deep that I guess I found hell. Today’s films are so bad that I hate to talk in over hyperbolized statements and absolutes, but I feel that calling them the worse found footage film isn’t even saying enough. They might be the worst films ever in general maybe even the worst cinematic endeavor ever attempted. Yet, I don’t know if you can even call them a movie at all and how the hell they ended up on Amazon Prime is maybe the greatest mystery I’ve encountered. Even in terms of fraud movies I think this is the saddest, laziest, and the most pathetic attempt to make a movie.
Don’t believe me… watch the trailer and I’ll challenge you to Hot Wheels beat that and find something worse, cause I bet you can’t.
Now let’s breakdown why I consider this to be a special kind of bad.
The Movie Posters
Okay, so all of us with eyesight and common sense can all agree that these posters are a complete eyesore, right? There’s a lot of gobble-glook all over the place and confirms a complete lack of organization, or care and more importantly displays an unawareness of how bafflingly incompetent the people behind the film are. In fairness, this does perfectly represent the movie, so I mean at least it’s accurate. But I mean Devil Dog Film & Movie Productions (jeez even their name is incompetently a mouth full… calling them DD productions for the rest of the review) if you want a good poster all you have to do is ask me.
Here I didn’t put the best effort into this poster, but I think it’s an improvement. I got to give a shout to Trevor King who is the owner of the base image for making this picture accessible on flickr. I’m suppose to disclose my alterations so besides the text edited in the main alterations are separating the grass in the foreground with the rest of the picture in the background and edited both halves through: brightness, hue (greenish), saturation, contrast, etc.. So to be fair, my edit is still pretty amateur but I think we can agree that there are some things that make it technically better:
- Better adherence to rule of thirds
- Cleaner design, less garbage
- Better font choice (didn’t use impact I’m guessing)
- More dynamic/ layered image
- Didn’t use primary basic red & basic yellow color scheme (we’re not McDonald’s)
Ultimately, the point I’m making is not that I’m an awesome designer because I bet a lot of people can do a much better job than I did but the point is that I at least made artistic choices and had reasoning behind why I made it so. Even my worst designs like the awful thumbnails I made for my Goosebumps post, I’d defend in saying I wanted to keep it childishly simplistic reflecting the youthful material and make an easy template for multiple uses while conceding that I’m not trying to make a masterpiece and ain’t a good graphic designer. Unfortunately lacking thought into our product is a precedent found in everything DD productions cranks out (but if you’re seeing this feel free to use the poster and contact me if you want more?)
Paranormal Retreat Director’s Cut
This movie has an interesting idea of Director’s Cut… as in it’s just not edited… also I don’t think an editor’s cut exists… so yeah makes sense. The little editing that does exist (if you can call it editing) makes watching this movie feel like a fever dream. The movie opens with a title made in windows movie maker, proceeds to have count ‘em 4 minutes of b-roll and then another title screen? There’s random jump cuts in scenes in which nothing is happening, and we hold on shots too long because we don’t have enough content to carry the runtime.
Editing gets a score of: Not applicable or -7
Characters and script are important parts of a good movie so how does this movie hold up… it doesn’t. In terms of characters, they’re all just the crew in real life and if I had to spend more than 10 seconds with these people… I probably would jump out of a moving vehicle. They’re not funny, their not convincing (scary considering in found footage your playing an average normal person) and they all have no discernable personality. Script, there was none… it was all pretty much off the cuff improvising and nothing happened except ghosts who look like the “I like turtles” kid would occasionally just walk up to people… hence killing them…makes sense. Things happen, and none of them entertaining in the slightest.
Character and screenplay gets a score of: Not applicable or -10
Cinematography doesn’t exist you can film on your phone even with vertical orientation and congratulations you have better camerawork than this movie.
Overall, this movie has a 2/10 on IMDb and I’d encourage anyone who finds making a film daunting, that if you went around your day and filmed with your phone camera, and then highlighted the best parts of your day… you’re most likely making something better than this movie. This all begs the question: how the hell is there a sequel… could it possibly get worse? The answer is kind of.
Paranormal Retreat 2: Woods Witch
The Sequel, Woods Witch (okay is it just me, or is this the most illiterate title you’ve heard. It’s not Woods’ Witch, not Wood Witch, not Witch Woods. This is literally the dumbest fashion you could stick these words together it’s just two nouns next to each other) Is better… by the slimmest of margins. The aspect ratio is better, instead of vertical orientation they at least of a 4:3 box ratio which still sucks but beggars can’t be beggars. I like how the quality of it being a fever dream has intensified, random unexplained stuff just happens for no reason and you just accept it. There’s a scene with a random guy wearing a rubber mask on and carrying a machete and they just approach him and ask him questions about the urban legend and never acknowledge that anything unusual is happening. I guess it’s to be humorous but everyone who’s made it that far into the movie has already seen you give a delirious rant in your car where you yell at people who aren’t there so we’re all kind of questioning the mental state of the people behind the camera. Finally, last compliment is that by complete accident if we ignore that there is a random Halloween decoration in the middle of the room this room is aesthetically pleasing.
There’s a problem with the film not knowing how to present itself, as a fictional film or as a found footage movie. The film tells us that it’s fake within the first 5 minutes but then precedingly flashes up a warning that the police are looking for the people in the video and that one segment is apparently real though it’s the same guy as the actor portraying the real guy as an actor? Obviously, you can do this in ways that make sense, like The Purge has that commencement warning and you understand that that announcement is in universe but in this movie it’s doesn’t get that excuse because the transitions are the same as the movie title sequence because everything was edited in Windows Movie Maker which ironically is the editing software you should use only if you want to make a movie to chuck out your window.
The biggest problem with this movie is that the filmmakers were too lazy to even make it. The film is only 66 minutes which is already on the shorter side but taking all the filler into account ( 4 minute opening of b-roll… yes again, 1-2 minutes of police warning screens, last 15 minutes is scenes from the first movie followed by end credits ) so around 1/3 of your movie is irrelevant bullshit ( not to say the whole thing isn’t).
I’d say Woods Witch is just as bad if not worse than the original… but a little more entertaining.
Devil Dog Film & Movie Productions
Besides making abominations they also manage talent, conduct paranormal research, and whatever the hell a Ghost Aholic does. Also if you’re in the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania area they are looking for some production interns. It sounds like they’re trying to not do any of the work themselves and anyone with the qualifications of being a production assist for over a year would be the most knowledgeable person on set and working with these morons would be infuriating.
If you think you have an idea for the worst imaginable horror movie to be made, DD productions encourages you to pitch your ideas to them. If you have any sincerity for this idea then I’d recommend literally going to anyone else but if you want to come up with something stupid in 20 minutes you should considering emailing them and seeing if they take the bait.
Bet you weren’t expecting or was waiting for me to bring up these delusional cooks merchandise. The big seller is that for $50 you can join their ghost hunting crew on an episode of their tv show. You can by the camera they shot there movies with for $30 which explains a lot. You can buy Madam Della’s 2nd book “Oh God, Help Me I Guess I Really am the Crazy Cat Lady That Lives Down the Street” I mean The Feline Familiar.
If I’m buying anything… I’m tempted by this 24” X 36” Custom Egyptian Bastet Acrylic Painting because some of us are still single and need to consider adopting bolder tactics.
It’s actually not a bad painting I might look completely mental hanging it up in my house but it’s not bad, gets an okay from me.
As much pain and suffering it is to endure Paranormal Retreat, if there is any sincerity to these people I hope they get better at this, they currently have like 6 projects slated and the only thing sadder than your 1st film being this abysmal is having your 10th film be just as bad. It’s not a matter of proper equipment or lack of skill or prowess, dedicate time to pre-planning and pre-production to focus your efforts on constructing an actual story with a concrete beginning, middle, and end because until then you haven’t made a movie… just a steaming pile of shit.
Images are from Paranormal Retreat 1 & 2 as well as Devil Dog Film & Movie Productions.
Poster image is building on this original image from: