I always enjoy a good scare, horror films and thrillers are some of my top genres with many of my favorite films landing in this category. Add in the appeal of a good ole ghost story and my level of interest rises. There was a point where I’d go down the YouTube rabbit hole and watch countless videos of ghost encounters or investigative shoots at eerie locations. Combine all these elements together and you would get the first feature from writer/director Brian Jagger entitled Paranormal Prison. The film is shot from a first person perspective following a team of ghost hunters as they shoot footage inside an old prison before its demolition. What adds a hint of freshness is the use of an unknown cast much like its forefather The Blair Witch Project; a nod as well because they each portrayed their roles accordingly with no sense of hamming it up.
Anyone familiar with the television show Ghost Hunters can see this as its carbon copy with the exception that something actually happens. The team is led by a rich, self-centered skeptic by the name of Matthew, played by Todd Haberkorn, the audio/camera tech Ashley, played by Corynn Treadwell, the cameraman Jacob, played by Brian Telestai and the paranormal “expert” of the group Sara, played by Paris Warner. The film’s running time of 70 minutes keeps everything moving at a quick pace but unfortunately most of it feels repetitive. The group follow their security escort throughout the prison with each room giving increasingly worse vibes. There are added shots from small cameras placed to gather more footage but they’re just overlapped with bad CGI shadows and cutaways. I feel a film with as noticeable a small budget as it had should have made better use of actual props or better editing; the use of cutaways to composed images instead of any actual object/person hurt the film’s presentation. The lack of any real danger and loosely plotted story that tidily wrapped together at the end made this an instant faded memory.
1.5 out of 5