Real-life paranormal events can occur in different ways at multiple locations. And to a variety of people. So, when they happen to skeptics, those same people become Believers.
The Travel Channel’s latest addition to their all-screams-all-the-time lineup involves unusual experiences as told from the point of view of actual eyewitnesses. These stories begin as re-enactments, quickly switching to archival footage and smashing back and forth in order to tell their true tales of terror. While some of the stories from the pilot episode may seem familiar, they are told through a new format. The archival footage is a new storytelling element, which is intriguing for a bit, but overall, through the series premiere at least, they never actually show anything truly important, simply reminding the viewer that this unexplained event really did take place.
The first story involves professional filmmakers working on a case study of anxiety and fears while away from their main jobs. Another involves Casper the unfriendly ghost attaching himself to a weary renter, a Missing Persons Investigation merges with a premonition and a boiler room incident that rattles a retired soldier. Together, these are tales of strange encounters, but nothing really different from any other program currently airing on TRVL.
“There were forces at work that to this day, I still can’t explain.”
Are these the same old stories, retold in a different way? On a new show? According to some online comments, a few people have claimed shenanigans on the producers. Having watched many, many paranormal TV shows and plenty of reality TV, I didn’t recognize them, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been lifted from another broadcast. There is some fear of the unknown mixed in with a healthy dose of haunted history. It is creepy at times, but there are no true jump scares.
I’ve got two complaints about Believers, and they aren’t minor infractions.
Having the actual person on camera discussing their ordeal is actually a good thing, I just didn’t like the reenactments very much. They are incredibly boring. They also slow down the storytelling process. When you’re trying to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, you don’t want to bore them to death. (Scaring them to death is entirely another story.) So, the other complaint is kinda tricky to describe. When you’ve got too many flash-cuts back and forth between reenactments and archived footage, the overall process of deciphering which is fake and which is real gets a little blurry. While fully focusing on “The Slip Knot,” it felt like the episode was trying to portray the actors as real-life events, not vice versa. This does give the actual filmed elements more gravity, but like I stated before, nothing truly happens in those spots.
When a primary character mentions their case offered “nuggets of information,” he might as well have been describing this TV show. While it offers a decent premise, I would rather watch Paranormal Caught on Camera, as it’s straight to the point — but with commentary — less fluff and provides no unnecessary reenactments.