Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour (2007)

Genre(s): Drama / Family / Mystery
Sony || PG - 80 minutes - $24.96 || September 9, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-08-28


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Lisa Comrie
Writer(s): John Comrie (story), John Comrie & Lisa Comrie (screenplay)
Cast: Rissa Walters, Brian Comrie, Dan Comrie, Jane Harris


Theatrical Release Date: October 19, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • "Frida's Pyschic Readings" Game


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Released to theaters in October of 2007, Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour is, more or less, a TV pilot for a series on Family ABC. Clocking in at under (excruciating) 80-minutes, the film takes its sweet time going absolutely nowhere telling an uninteresting story that one couldn’t honestly care about featuring cardboard thin characters who were even less interesting than the lame story.

In a nutshell, the story surrounds Sarah Landon (Rissa Walters), a 17-year-old chick who months earlier lost her best friend to a drunk driver. After befriending the girl’s grandmother at the memorial service, she received a call from granny who thinks Sarah is on her way there to visit. Reluctant at first, Sarah makes the trek from San Diego to Pine Valley when her car suddenly starts having problems. Because the parts needed to fix the car won’t come in until after the weekend, Sarah receives a ride from childhood friend David (Brian Comrie).

Through granny, David and the town mechanic, Sarah pieces together Pine Valley’s deep dark secret: Years before, the town a-hole, Ben Woods’ son had been killed in a car accident, the car was being driven by David’s mother. David also has a brother, Matt (Dan Comrie), and Ben put a hex on Matt that he would be dead before his 21st birthday! Not too much later, Ben died of a heart attack, though Matt still believed that even in death, Ben would come back to exact his revenge.

Sarah Landon and the... is easily one of the worst all-around movies I have seen in 2008. It features some truly awful acting from lead actress Rissa Walters, brothers Brian and Dan Comrie to grandma herself. From one scene to the next, it was as if these actors (all making their feature debuts) were merely reading off of cue cards and emoting rather than actually acting. Sure, Walters is cute, but she does not have the talent at this point to carry a feature like this.

Funny thing, the performances weren’t the worst aspect, though; the screenplay by John and Lisa Comrie was also easily just as bad or worse. Continuing in the Comrie family affair, co-writer Lisa Comrie also took on directing duties, a job that should’ve gone to a professional, someone who at least had the skill to manage the cast. Instead what we have here is one giant mess of a movie. Oh, and I also should note that the Comrie’s also served as producers...

I didn’t have a big problem with the story itself as it kind of reminded me of my teenage days of reading those R.L. Stine books (I guess you could say Stine was the kid version of Stephen King), but even with his amateur and obvious stories, it would be an insult to compare his books with this screenplay. Obviously the biggest influence is Nancy Drew, but that’s an even larger disservice of a comparison.

Even aimed at pre-teens, I can’t see any value in watching this movie. On its surface, Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour is a decent idea that was instead 80-minutes of amateur filmmaking... at best.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Outside of some previews, the only other feature is “Frida’s Psychic Readings” Game which is basically an interactive 8-ball except instead of an 8-ball a woman gives the answers to your most desired questions.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 1.85 OAR. Colors seem to be pretty good and on point. I didn’t really notice much in the way of grains, dust or scratches, though it did seemed a little washed in parts, but overall it looks pretty good.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is probably the highlight of this disc. The “creepy” music makes use of the side and rear speakers while dialogue comes through the center channel nicely and even the subwoofer gets a workout.



.::OVERALL::.

Somehow, someway Sarah Landon actually received a theatrical release (albeit limited). I’ve seen plenty of bad movies get the Hollywood treatment, but I wonder how even this got a deal. There is almost nothing about this film that I could say is good. Even for a pre-teen supernatural drama, this is still subpar material here, I have seen better quality out of an episode of “Ghost Whisperer” (a fine show, by the way).