Morbidly Beautiful

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With an air of believability and sincerity, “The Psychics” is a no budget found footage style film that offers a familiar yet enjoyable angle.

The Psychics, written and Directed by Norwegian filmmaker Tomas Sem Løkke-Sørensen, is a found footage style horror film which fits more comfortably categorized as home footage. Starring Kirsti Lovas as the easily believable Camilla, the story follows her as she investigates psychics, their abilities, and how they aide the police on confounding cases.

With a brief and confusing opening showing us our protagonist in dire trouble out of chronological order, there is an echo of another found footage film which I love, The Tunnel (2011). I was always able to forgive The Tunnel for removing the desperation from the equation with interview interludes showing the cast “OK” after the events they encounter, but I understand how it removed a lot of the suspense and fear for most.

Tomas remedies that by giving us a peak at the future with a much less optimistic outcome.

I get a bit lost in Camilla’s too real behavior, and she doesn’t act much like a battle worn journalist. That may have been Tomas’s intention, because the softly introduced Cameraman addresses her demeanor after her first interview. She acts more a shy child than a journalist digging into the underbelly of a specific sect of people. Camilla improves quickly and is set on an unexpected personal journey with her next interview, as we learn that she has a dark tragedy that hangs over her.

Keeping the story personal, rather than a general expose, plays well, as Camilla uncovers clues of her own sister’s disappearance with some unwilling help from Astrid, her second interviewee. A “produced” flashback sequence seemed out of place. But it served its purpose well to build sentiment and empathy.

The locations were a character on their own, creating a perception of isolation hard to fabricate.

On the downside, a few scenes played a bit slow and could have been resolved quicker for a more enjoyable pace.  I have to assume there was quite a bit of open space given to Lovas to improvise and feel out the scenes. Unfortunately, however, this didn’t really pay off.

Climatically, an ultimate deception that I was annoyed with myself for not sniffing out was appropriate enough to believe.

I never understood the ire Found Footage received, as most horror fans can name at least one they call a guilty pleasure. And in that confession, The Psychics could easily find its way onto someone’s “I actually like it” list. It has found its way on to mine.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 2.5

This review was based on the film’s screening at the 2020 Horror-On-Sea Film Festival. The Psychics is available to watch now on Amazon.

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