Let’s spend 28 days with some boring people.
I don’t do a lot of series on this blog and have taken to telling people I just don’t watch much television, which is true. I find that most series simply crash and burn at a certain point and the time investment simply isn’t worth it. The new trend of anthology seasons is an interesting way to entice skeptics like me into committing for more than a singular running time.
I noticed this one on Netflix (and didn’t listen to the warnings in my brain) and thought it could be an interesting take on the ghost hunting genre. This time, we follow three teams at three locations who each stay for 28 days to test Ed and Lorraine Warren’s theories about piercing the veil. Oh boy, how quickly do you think this one goes wrong?
Before I begin the narrative (I’ve already had this long introduction so why not a little more?) I want to talk about ghost hunting and documentaries. I enjoy some of the documentaries on ghost hunting despite being an extreme skeptic. I think when created by serious people they can at least make the viewer ponder what they are seeing. However, none have convinced me. I see these documentaries as little more than scripted reality television, which this one certainly is. In short, no special has risen to the threshold of evidence I need to see the findings as anything but staged. Further, this genre is where I get the most comments and emails as some folks take this stuff seriously, which is great. Whatever your threshold for evidence or belief is does not need to align with mine. Although, I think we can all agree that this series is simply a catastrophic failure and will likely set the industry of serious ghost hunters back years.
I’ve sat on this review for a few days as I am not sure where to even begin. We’re introduced to eight investigators spread over three locations, and two edgy talking heads who never change clothes and talk about the supposedly awesome stuff we’re seeing on the cameras. However, we don’t see anything. Only having six episodes that aren’t an hour long (some closer to 30 minutes) when showcasing three locations over the course of a month tells you how little they had. What would have been 2016 hours of footage reduced to about 4? Not sure those numbers look too good.
Two of the three groups are essentially interchangeable. They are at houses/inns and bicker at each other because cringey soapy drama is what people really want, or at least that is the conclusion of the Netflix producers. Our third location, at a market with Jereme and Brandy is perhaps the most entertaining. That is, if you find cringing so hard you break a rib entertainment…
Anyway, nothing happens. We have our signature EVP sessions where a staticy noises that sound more like $(*#@#^ are interpreted to say names, locations, or threats. Broken and bizarre equipment may work for a parlor trick, but if they want to be taken seriously as researchers they need to up their game a lot. Our psychics (now called sensitives) also have a lot of feelings, dreams, and thoughts. Obviously, none of this is quantifiable.
Little treasures are obviously staged for them to find with glee. A buried star is found in already disturbed soil, and then claimed to be three centuries old. A pristine newspaper is found in a dank and damp basement from years prior. Sure. Yeah. Cabinets open on their own but are then ignored (despite this being the only event filmed).
The best/worst part of this show is how terrible the acting is. Supposedly, this is the dream scenario for ghost hunters–to test fraudster Warren theories. Yet, not a single one of the investigators seems excited at any singular moment. Honestly, they all seem like a bunch of chickens.
As an aside, why do all the men in these shows seem so insecure in their masculinity? I suppose we should ponder the moments where Jereme is literally yelling like a tough guy at shelves when asking this question… Anyway, why? Why so insecure and the need for bravado? Is it because they are being paid to pretend to be afraid of noisy pipes? This is just such a weird trend in the genre. I feel like they’re all compensating for something. Brandy is a giant chicken, but all the men seem super insecure.
I know that might be harsh to say, but with Brandy and Jereme…oh man where to begin? Brandy says “I’m done” or “I’m out” so many times it might be her catchphrase. I’m at least 90% certain if Jereme farted she’d think it was a ghost and run away. Jereme, a supposed demonologist and fire fighter (tons of crossover in those professions) might be the worst actor ever. However, he’s got some stiff competition in that department here.
Jereme reads from the bible frequently, as do the other teams, but they’ve clearly never read it before. There is a natural meter to most biblical passages and prayers, you’ll hear it if you read them aloud more than once. Certain syllables are emphasized and there are deliberate pauses, pacings, and tones. Anyone who has been to a church with a talented minister will hear this, but you’ll also see it in most horror movies. Here, they stutter and stumble over the more antiquated language, and pause before a clause is complete. In short, I don’t think they practiced nor do I think they were familiar with the passages.
I’m also skeptical that any of the teams spent 28 days at the locations. The absolute dearth of footage, our hosts never changing, and nobody seems to grow any hair are just a few bits of evidence I saw. The more damning aspect is that we never see the places “lived in.” I don’t count messing up a bed as evidence of someone staying somewhere for a month.
I accepted that the show was staged pretty early on. Now, I think every frame was staged through and through. There’s an obvious additional cameraman at each location, which destroys the idea of isolation. Mixed in with chainsaw editing, no real evidence, and a lot of convenient things happening just outside of the camera’s view (or a dream) and you can’t cover the smell of bullshit.
The funniest, saddest, and billshittiest moment might be when Jereme thinks he is having a heart attack and the doctors supposedly aren’t sure why. I’m not into the body shaming game, and at least 30% of my body is made up of pizza and chicken wings–so I’m not trying to be mean here, but Jeremie isn’t a healthy man. If someone with his dietary habits, age, anger issues, and overall health exhibited signs of a heart condition I’m pretty sure the doctors could crack that fucking case. What annoys me about this whole sequence is either they used a health issue for cheap drama or faked a serious health issue for drama. In my opinion, that is a lose-lose.
This show is an abomination and should never have been made. I simply cannot believe the decision that Netflix makes. This is an insult to writing, drama, narrative, acting, ghost hunting, and the audience.
Good work Netflix–another stinker.