Episode 50 (Joe and Tess Smalley, 2011)
Afer I watched the final scene of Episode 50, team Smalley’s execrable found-footage “paranormal reality TV show gone wrong” movie, I had to do a little digging to find out if this had been funded by some uber-right-wing Christian organization. It wasn’t, but it has all the hallmarks—it falls into accepting, even embracing, the same stupid occult stereotypes that such flicks use to preach “the occult is evil, mmmkay?”. They should make anyone else laugh with derision. Deeply depressing stuff, especially coming from a husband-and-wife team who learned their craft at the feet of such directors as Larry Fessenden (Wendigo), Jim Sheridan (In America), and Fenton Bailey (Party Monster); Joe handled various production manager roles on those and many other films on which Tess worked as a production assistant before the two got hitched and started doing their own directing. This is their second feature, and it is awful indeed.
Plot: The Paranormal Inspectors, a successful paranormal-activity reality TV show aimed at debunking possible “hauntings”, secures the rights to film overnight in a supposedly haunted asylum for its fiftieth episode. What the show’s sleazy producer doesn’t tell his crew is that he was only able to score this gig if he also allowed the crew of another show, one whose aim is diametrically opposed to that of the Paranormal Inspectors (they are not only believers in paranormal hauntings, but are also highly religious), to accompany them and film as well. It doesn’t take long for our intrepid explorers to realize that there is, in fact, something desperately wrong with this place, and that the only way they’re going to figure out what it is and stop themselves from getting slaughtered is to work together to figure out what’s going on and how to stop it before etc.
To be fair, it’s not the worst “annoying Ghost Adventures guys get their much-deserved comeuppance” movie I’ve ever seen. (That would be Grave Encounters, elsewhere this ish…) And I guess if you want to consider the kind of weird religious hack/add-on at the end of the movie original, I can’t argue with that, no matter how ineptly it comes off. But still, it would have to reach to achieve the enjoyment factor of House of Bones, and let’s face it, if you can’t measure up to a SyFy Channel Original Movie after they changed the name to SyFy… * ½
Not the worst trailer you will watch today, since I just posted the trailer for Grave Encounters.