A while back I reviewed the complete series on DVD of Chris Bores’ Haunted Investigators, a series he does that is in the vein of Ghost Hunters, Most Haunted and probably a whole slew of others that I can’t think of at the moment. My main thought was that it was more boring than actively bad, consisting of nothing more than a group of people wandering around various locations at night and asking if any ghosts wanted to talk with them. A new episode hasn’t been released for years so I was pretty surprised to hear about Pursuit of the Paranormal earlier this year.
Pursuit of the Paranormal is Bores’ return to the world of haunted investigations, only this time it was being presented as a feature length movie. The tagline touted it as being a “90-minute conversation with the dead” and it promised to reveal the secrets of the afterlife or show us shit that had never been seen before or any other number of hyperbole. Bores’ himself was really out there trying to generate hype, attempting to get the thing into festivals, going on TV to promote it, and even securing a theatrical showing. It almost started to sound like this was going to be something on a much grander scale than the show.
It’s not. It’s really not.
The first thing worth mentioning is that this is only 54 minutes long. I went in thinking it was supposed to be feature length, and when I first saw the running time I thought maybe there was an issue with my DVD and that it would suddenly cut out. After all, how can you have a 90 minute conversation with the dead in only 54 minutes? But nope, that’s the real length. It’s hardly much longer than an average episode of the show so why it’s being referred to as a movie and not perhaps a “special” I’m honestly not sure.
So our premise. Bores’ (who in the opening actually refers to himself as a “popular Youtube personality”) is joined by Alan Cicco from the original show (no Jennifer this time) and they set out to explore a haunted lighthouse. The first chunk is your typical ghost hunting show fare as a tour guide takes them through the area and talks about all the creepy shit people have seen (shadow people, chairs moving, etc) that almost definitely will not be appearing on camera later. I was a little surprised that the tour guide stuck around for the actual investigation though, that doesn’t seem to happen too often.
Night falls and the crew (there actually are other crew members filming and such, so it does have a slightly more professional feel than the usual Irate Entertainment fare) set up all of their equipment. I will admit that the camera pointing straight up through the lighthouse staircase is somewhat unsettling, but I don’t think it’s spoiling too much to say that you won’t actually see anything creepy happen in any of that camera’s footage. Once all of that stuff is in place, we are treated to our standard shots of people roaming around and begging ghosts to do something interesting for them. “Is there anyone in here that wants to talk to us?” “Hey you want to move that chair or whatever?” I imagine the ghosts must be watching and shaking their heads. “Fuck no I don’t want to move that chair. Piss off and stop yelling at us!” I don’t remember Alan being as sexual about it before though. He puts some smoothness into his questions this go around. “Heeeey you want to touch me? It’s ok if you want to touch me. Seriously I would be super cool with it. Just touch me.” It made me realize just how much I would absolutely watch a show about a crew trying to get it on with ghosts.
One of the biggest problems with Pursuit of the Paranormal is an issue I have with most any ghost hunting show – they’re never going to actually prove ghosts. Ok maybe one day they will actually get the definitive footage that undeniably shows that ghosts are indeed a thing, but until then we are going to be dealing with a lot of “evidence” that isn’t too convincing. Here is the same deal. We are told we are hearing female voices that don’t really sound like anything much more than wind, we’re told camera batteries are dying and lights are turning off (the latter conveniently happens off camera) and it won’t generate much more than a shrug from all but the most die-hard believers.
As I mentioned, the big selling point here is the conversation with a spirit but don’t in any way let that get you hyped. The conversation is done using two meters that light up when there is a ghost nearby. So they tell the spirit of a young girl (who apparently has a crush on the tour guide that is with them) to use one meter to indicate yes, and the other to indicate no. As far as I can tell she never actually uses the no one, they just assume she means no when the yes doesn’t light up. This means we are watching three people sit on a basement floor, asking mostly inane questions and then seeing if lights show up on a small device. It’s really nothing more than if you were to watch people using a Ouija board to communicate with someone. It’s not ground-breaking in any way and certainly does not make for interesting viewing.
The other marketing piece was about how the secrets of the afterlife would be uncovered. Nope, not so much. Anytime they ask the spirit about the afterlife it never actually responds to them so they use that to reach their own conclusions about how she was afraid to talk about it and there is some spirit wide agreement that none of them are allowed to discuss this sort of thing with the living. It’s not as though the spirit tells them straight out “Oh yeah man, here’s exactly what happens after you die. Check it.” So don’t count on anything interesting happening there either.
The “movie” concludes with a bit more exploring of the lighthouse, capped off with your typical ghost hunting summary of “while we can’t say for certain, it looks like we experienced some ghosts” and a reminder of the not very impressive evidence they have of such. They seem pretty convinced that the conversation they had earlier was absolutely incredible, but as I said, I had a pretty similar experience with a Ouija board at a birthday party when I was 12 and I don’t take much from that either.
I read that Bores spent a great deal of his own money attempting to get this shown in various places and if that’s true, I feel genuinely bad for him. This is nothing more than a slightly extended episode of Haunted Investigators. There is nothing ground-breaking here, despite the promise of the tagline. I mean again, as with Haunted Investigators, it’s not actively terrible so much as it is very boring. Hell my wife fell asleep 15 minutes in. Unless you are a ghost hunting fanatic who absorbs every piece of material you can get your hands on, I don’t see any reason you need to watch this.
In terms of bonus features, it’s pretty typical of a Bores’ DVD release as there are barely any offered here. You have just over a minute of deleted scenes, which is strange because when your movie is already this short why not include as much footage as you can? There’s a trailer which really tries to build up a sense of intensity that is not at all present in the final product. Finally you get under a minute of bloopers, none of which are particularly funny. For a project that apparently meant so much to him, why not do a commentary track or some sort of making of? I don’t get it, but as I’m sure you already figured out, there is not even an hour’s worth of content on this disc.
If you happen to be someone who watched and enjoyed Haunted Investigators, you’re in luck because Pursuit of the Paranormal is simply more of that. For the rest of us, there is no reason to check this out. Don’t be fooled into the promises made by the taglines and trailer, nothing ground-breaking or even interesting happens here. You can safely move along.