The much-disputed demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren insisted that it takes “barely 28 days” to break the veil “of the spirit world”. The affirmation was born, of course, from his long and vast experience in similar situations. But, as if that were not enough, they insisted on the possibility that phenomena of an inexplicable nature obey a verifiable internal order. All this strange idea sustains the docuseries 28 paranormal days by Joe Berlinger for Netflix.
What could be a journey through the strange, the singular and the fearsome, ends up being a great joke of involuntary black humor. Step by step, Berlinger reconstructs supposed experiences on the verge of the perception of reality and tries to find a consistent explanation for them.
The media? The technology and a series of supposed measurable data, which become a kind of unequal combination between the visual chronicle and a morbid spectacle. In addition, as if it were an artificial addition, it is the son-in-law of the iconic research couple of supernatural phenomena who accompanies the experience.
What is the supernatural? The question is repeated more often than is convenient in 28 paranormal days. Eight participants in the process will try to answer it, but from “day 1”, which is indicated in the first chapter, it is obvious that they will not succeed. This attempt to reality show immediately decays amidst a sea of increasingly tedious inconsistencies.
Especially, because everything that it encompasses — from the concept of the unknown to fear turned into an object of study — is of considerable ambition. But 28 paranormal days, with six short episodes, barely scratches the surface of the idea. Much less, he manages to analyze it beyond a cheap show, poorly constructed and, most of the time, almost self-parodic.
28 paranormal days
Like a shoddy take on investigator Grant Wilson’s Ghostbusters series, 28 Days of the Paranormal attempts to unravel the world of the unseen. He does it with an apparent naturist staging, in which he mixes the search for clues with a certain scenography of the dark. However, his attempts are so obvious as to be a messy collection of commonalities with other productions. The darkness of closed windows or destroyed sites with amplified sounds. The constant insistence of the participants “in perceiving that something is happening” and even the usual tricks of recording darkness with sensitive spectrum cameras. All the clichés of curiosity about the paranormal are included in the series. Which makes it inevitable to wonder if Belinger is questioning credulity and the collective capacity for fear before anything else.
Between fear and humor 28 paranormal days
Belinger, responsible for several documentaries, including the popular — and superficial — installments of conversations with killers, has experience in fictionalizing reality. In fact, several of his best tricks — like the subjective camera and dramatized scenes — try to bring some order to 28 paranormal days.
But despite its intentions, the series does not go beyond exploring the possibility that the terrifying can be an experience. halfway between what sounds like cruel humor about human gullibility and something more elaborate about what’s scary, 28 paranormal days he decays because of his clumsiness.
Belinger, who wants to show that some places can contain the evil, the strange and the inexplicable, takes the experience to the field of scientific hypothesis. Which makes you have to use little tricks of effects to achieve an atmosphere that is, to say the least, uncomfortable.
All the clichés of the spirit world
Like a low quality version of the series Ghost Bustersby researcher Grant Wilson, 28 paranormal days try to decipher the world of the invisible. She does it with an apparent naturist staging, in which she mixes the search for clues with a certain scenography of the dark. However, his attempts are so obvious as to be a messy collection of common points with other productions that handle similar topics.
The darkness of closed windows or destroyed sites with amplified sounds. The constant insistence of the participants “in perceiving that something is happening” and even the usual tricks of recording darkness with sensitive spectrum cameras. All the clichés of curiosity about the paranormal are included in 28 paranormal days. Which makes it inevitable to wonder if Belinger, in fact, is not questioning credulity and the collective capacity for fear before anything else.
The mere suggestion of a social experiment is much more interesting than the series itself. Perhaps, for this reason, the journey through dusty rooms, narrow corridors full of garbage and lonely places has something cynical about it. Belinger, accustomed to exposing human nature in all its miseries, tries an almost grotesque game about what terrifies us.
28 paranormal daysnothing new to show
But, without the right tools, that hint at the bottom of 28 paranormal days collapses in the middle of a bland staging. For its final chapters, the series mixes the urgency of leaving a message — even a vague and formless one — with ending the experience with some dignity.
It doesn’t make it and that feeling of being an incomplete and basic production is the poorest element in 28 paranormal days. A failed experiment that could have been, at least, a different look at the fear of having been executed with greater skill.