Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour is like a snuff film; a bloodless, PG-rated snuff film. The film’s intention is to be creepy and suspenseful, but the final effort is off-putting and leaves an unfortunate, vomity taste in your mouth. Though in all fairness, that chunky sensation probably won’t stem from any on-screen gore (it doesn’t exist) but will derive from a mid-movie purge session that seemed like a good way to kill the intense, all-consuming boredom.
Clocking in at just over eighty minutes, Sarah Landon is a filmmaker’s clinic in consistency: how to be consistently awful. Everything about this monsoon offends the senses. The acting is second-rate middle school play at best. The directing is underwhelming, even bad at points. And the special effects are eerily reminiscent of an alcoholic with Down Syndrome trying out Photoshop for the first time. It amazes me that this many untalented people even exist, let alone were cast in a movie together.
The plot is unnecessarily complicated, but I will do my best to regurgitate all of the bizarre soap-opera like relationships. Sarah Landon (think Nancy Drew with dark hair and a bulbous ass) is saddened by the death of her best friend Megan. At the funeral, she meets Megan’s grandmother who invites her out for a long weekend at the hillbilly infested Pine Valley. Along the way, her car breaks down (not cliche), and she’s offered a lift by Matt Baker (poorly played by Dan Comrie in his first big screen role). He introduces her to his brother David (less poorly played by Brian Comrie) and a slew of redneck townsfolk.
At some point, a back story emerges about a horrific car accident. Apparently, Matt and David’s mother was taking local heart-throb Johnny out for a Coke when they were involved in a deadly accident. Enraged, Johnny’s father Ben vows to kill David on his twenty-first birthday. This sordid plan of revenge quickly unravels, though, when Ben has a massive heart attack a few days later. Of course, a little thing like death can’t keep a toothless Bible-Belter down, and the old curmudgeon returns as a Larry The Cable Guy looking ghoul to deliver comeuppance. I wasn’t really on board before this hogwash, but any sympathy I had left was vanquished after multiple unnecessary scenes of Ben’s fat ghost listening to opera music and randomly appearing.
Calling this shit-storm God awful doesn’t do it justice. United flight 93 had more high moments than this abortion. At least that eventual skyscraper accident got off the ground. This is the first film I have ever seen that literally does nothing correctly. I’m convinced the actors must have been improvising, because there is no way screenwriter John Comrie could have ever thought any of this dialogue was passable. Two monkeys could defecate on a keyboard, and they would produce more believable banter.
But all of these criticisms pale in comparison to the soundtrack. Sarah Landon’s accompanying music is literally a collection of random noises that rarely correspond to the foreground action. In retrospect, I should have payed a homeless man twenty dollars to bang on pots and pans during random intervals. At least his failure stench would have matched the aroma this kidney stone of a film emanates.
Everyone associated with this film should suffer the same fat as Old Yeller or at least have their SAG cards taken away. May God have mercy on the soul of anyone stupid enough to see this.