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Case Number 14560: Small Claims Court

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Sarah Landon And The Paranormal Hour

Sony // 2008 // 80 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 19th, 2008

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson's paranormal hour also coincides with happy hour!

The Charge

Sometimes your past comes back to haunt you.

The Case

Look, I know a lot of teenagers are idiots, but there's got to be something more entertaining and engaging out there for them than this.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Sarah Langdon (Rissa Walters) is the new girl in Pine Valley, a quirk small town that apparently houses some sort of dark secret. This secret has something to do with a guy named Ben who was total dickhead when was alive, died, and came back from the spirit world to terrorize the town's residents. He's targeting a pair of dorky brothers, one of whom has a mega-crush on Sarah. The other, David, has a seemingly unhealthy obsession with Ouija Boards and back episodes of The X-Files.

Seriously, listening to this guy talk is like being forced into a conversation with that weird kid in high school who sat by himself at lunch and spoke authoritatively about ridiculous crap like Transformers canon. David is all about the ghosts and reincarnation and Druid rituals (really) and apparently Ben wants to kill him on his 21st birthday and maybe if the kid would just shut up and log some hours into the Xbox 360 instead of frakkin' around with the dark arts, the legions of hellspawn might leave him along.

So Sarah, her boy toy and David are caught in the middle of a terrifying countdown until David's birthday. Their task: to discover whose body this Ben character plans to take over, and stop him before he perforates David in the head with a shotgun. Let the plucky, teen investigating commence!

I know the PG rating doesn't offer much latitude when it comes to on-screen extremities, but the folks behind Paranormal Hour could have tried to make this just a teensy bit more edgy. As far as "supernatural thrillers" go, this one is about as mute and un-thrilling as you'll find. There is a lot of exposition—pretty boring exposition at that—some Nickelodeon-level dialogue and a whole lot of nothing else. Once in a while a mild jump scare shows itself, but it's usually a red herring like a cat or some kid on a bike. I'd say the scariest Paranormal Hour gets is when an old lady's eyes turn black and she talks in a husky man's voice.

I am out of things to say. There's nothing offensive here, unless you're uncomfortable with your pre-teens being exposed to a near-constant stream of ghost and spirit talk. That old lady, a shot of a human skull, some shotgun blasts and a boatload of cheap jump scares is it as far as pseudo-chills. The mystery is boring, the characters are tedious, and the pacing is tar-in-Alaska slow.

Not much in the way of a disc: a decent 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital track and a dopey "Frida's Psychic Readings" game.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English
• French
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
• Teen
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Psychic Reading Game


• IMDb

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