Paranormal Investigation Exorcises Scares Out Of Two Horror Subgenres

If the supernatural exists, and if they see Paranormal Investigation on Netflix, they’ll leave us alone. Director Franck Phelizon isn’t content with ruining paranormal horror movies. No, he takes a giant crap on the found footage horror subgenre for good measure. But if you were a fan of last year’s faux-documentary, Demon House, you’re in for a treat. What Paranormal Investigation represents is Netflix’s continued disinterest in the horror genre.


One evening, Claude Berlin and his friends play with a Ouija board. In the middle of their session, Claude begins convulsing. As his behaviour becomes increasingly strange, Claude’s parents contact Jose Atuncar, a paranormal investigator. As Atuncar documents Claude’s episodes, he becomes convinced that a demonic entity has possessed the young man’s soul.

Paranormal Investigation is Derivative From Its Title To Execution

Years ago, I worked in a small family-owned videostore. One of the tricks in movie marketing I quickly noticed was the ‘knock off’ rental. Specifically, the knock-off was the cheaply made imitation of a popular movie that used as much of the original title as legally possible. Thus, we have Paranormal Investigation, not Paranormal Activity. Both movies use a found-footage approach. And both movies involve some ‘activity’. But that’s where the similarities end.

On the contrary, Paranormal Investigation just feels like a cynical, lazy cash-in on public interest in the paranormal.

Everything about Paranormal Investigation feels derivative. It’s no so much that the movie is formulaic. Derivative movies that mimic a successful style can still entertain. On the contrary, Paranormal Investigation just feels like a cynical, lazy cash-in on public interest in the paranormal. Whether it’s the Ouija board set-up or faux-documentary approach, the movie is a painful slag from one trope to the next. There are entire scenes that feel like they were ripped directly out of better movies. Whether it’s the recycled ideas or poor execution, this found footage movie isn’t likely to scare anyone.

Paranormal Investigation Looks Cheap Even For Found Footage

Much of the appeal of found footage for filmmakers lies in its affordability. For horror fans, the found footage format lends itself to a faux documentary feel that makes for a raw viewing experience While Paranormal Investigation isn’t technically a ‘found footage’ movie, it does position itself as a ‘faux documentary’. Yet even using a threadbare filming technique, Paranormal Investigation looks cheap. The pink night vision, for example, is a bizarre choice. Perhaps the only positive is that director Franck Phelizon opts for fixed cameras, sparing the audience jerky camera movements.

Paranormal Investigation Not Worth Investigating

With almost no promotional materials, Paranormal Investigation’s appearance on Netflix is odd. Audiences expecting a hidden gem like last year’s Veronica should be warned. There are no gems hidden in this stinker. You’ll find no scares, no atmosphere, and no surprises. And at over 90 minutes, Paranormal Investigation may leave feeling haunted in all the wrong ways.


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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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