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I never can say goodbye...,
This review is from: The Realm [DVD] (DVD)
Deep down I suspect I have subconscious masochistic tendencies. That's the only reason I can think for renting yet another 'based on true events' shaky-cam mockumentary. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results then I stand guilty as charged.
Unoriginal plot consists of five friends recording their ouija board session which invariably leads to 'bad things' happening. I knew from the opening scene in the car that I wasn't going to enjoy The Realm - principally due to the wooden acting and audible background hiss, which begged some post-production editing. The hiss, that is; I don't think the editor could salvage the lacklustre acting.
Shortly after each of the five have had a chance to showcase their 'talents' to the camera, the three cardinal rules of ouija board use are delivered solemnly. The third and most important apparently is to say goodbye to the spirit before leaving the table (this is despite one of the friends going to the bathroom as this rule is laid down). You can imagine my incredulity as this super-important rule is broken not once but twice; through the most spurious of reasons.
Suffice it to say the spirits are let loose upon the Earth and it's a question of who will get bumped-off first - alas, not all of them, in case you're wondering. So the remaining running time spans two or three nights (I can't really say as there isn't enough consistency) as each of the friends have their own experiences of things that go bump in the night, interspersed with another ouija board session and some talking head shots.
Granted, there are a few scary moments though the usual 'pan round 180 degrees to see someone standing there' type scares, but they do a decent job in that regard, especially as the majority of the film is shot entirely inside the friends' homes (couldn't quite work out who lived in what home on occasions).
The only other thing going for it was the backstory which accounted for the spirits existence. Later in the film we get some retro-back story shenanigans which threw a pleasantly surprising curveball. However that mild joy was tempered by an excruciatingly bad representation of someone with learning difficulties; almost borderline insulting. Think the 'Simple Jack' film-within-a-film in Tropic Thunder; but without the irony.
In short, a so-so plot with some decent (albeit predictable) scares let down by cringeworthy acting and sub-par production values.