A&E // 2010 // 464 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 10th, 2011
That's the main question used to gauge how much value you'll squeeze out of this fifth season of A&E's ghost-hunting reality show. If you find yourself leaning towards the "I believe in the paranormal," then you should get an ample volt of enjoyment out of the creepy proceedings. If, however, you can't quite summon up the fear or curiosity needed to truly buy into this supernatural tomfoolery, I don't see Paranormal State doing anything for you.
I fall into the latter category, though I won't hate on it; as far as these types of spook shows go, Paranormal State executes well. Here's how the episodes spool out:
A guy named Ryan Buell apparently had a traumatic paranormal experience when he was a young boy, which prompted him to form the Paranormal Research Society, also known as the PRS, because acronyms are cool. Buell has stocked the PRS with assorted folks sharing a common interest in tracking down ghosts, demons, and whatever else goes bump in the night. Each episode finds Buell and company meeting up with someone desperate for help with a haunting. After the PRS gets the skinny, they set up voice recorders and night vision-enabled video cameras. From there, it's a lot of footage of people sitting in the pitch black losing their s -- -- at the slightest sound. They collect their evidence, debrief the client, enact a solution -- typically involving some psychic mojo or a mysterious ritual -- and pack it in, leaving the audience with a few postscripts updating the victim's situation, one of which found the PRS gearing up to confront a ghostly bastard in an "ultimate showdown." Hell yes.
Again, if this is your bag, there will be some entertainment siphoned out of the considerable number of episodes (21!). That's nearly eight hours of this stuff. As for me...I grew restless. There's only so much spinach-green-tinted video of dudes freaking out at knocks and creaks I can take. If you believe these people are earnest, I can see some sleepless nights in your future. I may not buy the Ecto Cooler shenanigans, but I don't think the PRS are frauds. They're earnest believers and their clients are obviously wetting their pants over something.
Sadly, these DVDs disappoint. Episodes receive rickety full frame transfers, made worse by their non-anamorphic, fake widescreen presentation. Sound is 2.0 stereo and cast commentary on three episodes is all that awaits in the bonus materials.
Guitly of boring me, but Not Guilty for its role in the genre.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 464 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Commentaries
* Official Site