By Ross Wildish

You know from the start that Paranormal Xperience 3D is going to be great because the title spells ‘experience’ without an ‘e’. Only the coolest films do that. And it’s in 3D. What more could you ask for? Well, lots of things unfortunately, but we’ll get to those.

Directed by Sergi Vizcaino, this Spanish horror is set in an abandoned salt mining town, where decades prior an insane doctor was locked in the mines after being found to be a murderer. Ever since, there’s been an odd vibe about the place, so some students are sent in to investigate. It’s a plot that isn’t exactly breaking new ground, but plenty of films have made up for their lack of originality in other ways.

So what of the characters? Well unfortunately pretty much every character is either boring, unrelatable, annoying or all of the above. They fit stereotypes that have become a staple of every bad slasher of the last few decades. This might not be such a bad thing, as Drew Goddard’s Cabin in the Woods utilised these stereotypes in an interesting way. It’s a shame that the same cannot be said of Paranormal Xperience 3D. The characters are pretty much just fodder, and any trace of character development is forced and predictable. The dialogue is wooden as it could possibly be; however being a Spanish film it could be that some of the nuance was lost in translation. As a result of these flaws, I found myself not caring in the slightest when the supposed ‘nice guy’ of the film gets his head torn open. I was just glad he wouldn’t be speaking any more.

The main villain of the film however, Doctor Matarga, is a great character both in design and standard of acting. For the few brief moments he is on camera, Manuel de Blas acts his heart out, as if it’s his responsibility to bring some class to the movie. His deep voice certainly gives him the presence of a great villain, but it isn’t quite enough to save the film, especially with how little screen-time he is given. It’s a great shame because the design of Matarga is pretty cool, if a little reminiscent of Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor in his stage attire.

Seeing that the poor students are written purely to die, what is there to say of the gore in Paranormal Xperience 3D? Overall, it’s grim but fairly moderate by general horror standards. One decent scene involves a chap being tied up in barbed wire and given a lobotomy. His girlfriend has to later remove the tool still embedded in his eye socket. Scenes involving the removal or harm of eyes tend to make me grimace, and I am not proud to say I did so then. The rest of the horror though is not shocking in the slightest, and apart from a few poor attempts at jump scares, there is very little ‘horrific’ about this horror.

What is there left for Paranormal Xperience 3D to be proud of, if not the acting or writing? Well if there is one positive thing that can be said of this film, then I would say that it is damn stunning visually. Every scene is beautifully composed and lit to a level I would expect of an art house film. I often found myself marvelling at just how attractive some scenes were, particularly when the students first enter the salt mines. The cinematography is of a very high standard, far more so than any other elements of the film. As for the 3D ‘xperience’, well I was restricted due to not having the ability to watch it in 3D, though I can confidently say I probably wasn’t missing much. The few scenes to obviously utilise the 3D technology did so in a fairly ham-fisted way, suggesting this was more of a marketing ploy than an artistic decision. But with the film’s small €3 million budget, I wasn’t expecting Avatar.

Great visuals couldn’t save this film from a dull script. It falls prey to every flaw a bad horror can fall to, and doesn’t even manage to make it to the ‘so bad it’s good’ category. All in all, Paranormal Xperience 3D isn’t much of an experience, and the 3D is barely worth talking about, but some paranormal stuff does happen, so there’s that.

VERDICT: [rating=2]

About The Author