The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill, 2013.
Directed by Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates.
Starring Michael Bartlett, Kevin Gates, Criselda Cabitac, Craig Stovin and Mark Jeavons.
In March 1963 a black mass was held within the ruins of a church in the small English village of Clophill. Tombs were desecrated and animals sacrificed during the macabre ritual. Fifty years on, following numerous reports of strange apparitions since that infamous ceremony, an investigative film crew was assembled to interview eyewitnesses and set up camp within the church ruins. During the long night ahead they hoped to capture some kind of paranormal presence. Nothing however could prepare them for the terrifying scenes they were about to witness and the events that followed.
Set in the town Clophill, Bedfordshire, the film follows a small group of paranormal investigators as they poke around an old ruined church known for its black magic, ghosts, gangs of chavs and a drunken vicar. The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill is filmed in a documentary style similar to the beginning of The Blair Witch Project – though not to be confused though with found footage, as here we see the cast and crew recording life before and after the investigation. Thanks to this style of recording we are aware that no deaths of the cast or crew occur and our tension level bar is set to “low”.
What follows is an extremely uneventful episode of Most Haunted. However in a Most Haunted episode you will, at least, have some orbs or Yvette Fielding freaking out at a squeaky door hinge. What you have here is a one hour and 26 minute feature in which sod all happens until one hour and 9 minutes, when our first “paranormal” incident occurs. This isn’t subtly dropped in like the outstanding the BBC Ghostwatch did when they snuck in pipes; here our ghostly apparition is greeted with a huge gong being struck. I wonder perhaps if they struck the gong to wake us up.
From this we are given a poorly enacted black magic ceremony with a real life nude woman (that’s why we’ve hit a 15 certificate!), then a race through the woods with a night vision camera and finally a ghost gate (no really, there is a ghost gate). It would have been an excellent benefit to this film if Alan Partridge had provided the voice over commentary and at the moment the first spooky event happens we would have heard, “Shit! Ghost monk on a path!”.
On a more serious note I actually feel sorry for the Supernatural Society of Luton (SSL), and the residents of Clophill who are now involved in this film. Up until the final act you could have considered this an actual documentary filmed for Channel 5 (though rather cheap looking), but the awfully-designed spooky happenings make the SSLs actions/investigative techniques that they’ve shown to us look more like a made up joke. I’m not saying that ghost finding equipment is 100% real-life, actual-proof-of-ghosts science, but the people involved in the SSL take this seriously only for it to be wrapped up in with this awful pantomime.
The residents of Clophill must be fuming as if a) this local grizzly tourist-pulling tale has now been made into a cheap farce and/or b) they’ve been included in this disaster of a film. Use your precious time elsewhere – perhaps cleaning that drain or glossing the hall.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ / Movie ★ ★
Villordsutch is married with kids and pets. He looks like a tubby Viking and enjoys science fiction. Follow him on Twitter.