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Movie Review

Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, mild peril and language

Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Pre-teens
Genre:
Drama, Thriller
Length:
1 hr. 28 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
October 19, 2007
DVD: September 9, 2008
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing

Ghosts in the Bible

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

What is the Occult? Answer

Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Featuring: Alessandra Daniele, Rissa Walters, Brian Comrie, Dakota Jade, Dan Comrie, Rick Comrie, Nicole Des Coteaux, Michael A. Evans, Kendell Lindley, Jane Harris, Sylvia Enrique, Triston Coleman, Dave Lindley, Jack Pine-Rusk, Laura Hiltz, Wendy Perkins, Michael Silva, Patricia Dimeo, Olivia Novrit, Joe Momma Ernst, Rusty Hanes, Ronda Ernst, Kurt Braun, Butch Hillman, Kevin Guild, Geof Gibson
Director: Lisa Comrie
Producer: Andrew Cohen
Distributor: Freestyle Releasing

“What will happen… between midnight and 1:00 AM?”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Far away from home, in the small town of Pine Valley, SARAH LANDON (newcomer Rissa Walters) finds herself all alone, staying in the guesthouse of her late friend’s grandmother. When she promised to come visit, she didn’t realize she wouldn’t be staying in the main house, and she didn’t realize that the guesthouse was haunted. Or at least it seems that way with all the strange things that are going on in there. But that soon becomes the least of the 17-year-old’s worries. When she learns of the town’s dark secret, she finds herself in the middle of a haunting mystery that involves two brothers, the local psychic, and an evil spirit.”

“Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour” seeks to be the Nancy Drew of the occult. It openly bills itself as the first in a series of movies. Is it really a family friendly horror film? Is Sarah Landon wholesome entertainment?

On the positive side, the story is interesting and had potential. The movie had only two foul words that I noticed ('you are a pain in the a--' and one other mild profanity) and no on screen violence. There was no blood and no sex. There was not even a kissing scene. Except for the “scary” elements and the occult story, this was as clean a movie as has been released in a long time.

Unfortunately, other negative elements are plentiful. From a Christian perspective the movie promotes spiritualism (the religion which rejects the Christian view of the afterlife), reincarnation, psychic powers, seances, druid rituals, and offers no Christian alternatives to the pagan worldview promoted in the film. Because the film is clearly aimed at young children, this may actually be more dangerous, as it is pushing an occultic worldview incompatible with the Christian faith.

On a technical level, the movie also fails. Despite a potentially entertaining script (ignoring the pagan occult issue) the acting is mediocre and the directing is uninspired, to say the least. The movie never pulled me into the story or made me care about the characters. Even the minor characters looked as if they were reading from a teleprompter, and none seemed to feel their role.

The plot revolves around a teenage girl who visits a small town with a secret. A man once promised to kill a young boy on his twenty-first birthday. The fact that the man is now dead doesn’t seem to stop fear that he will fulfill his promise. As that boy has now grown up, his twenty-first birthday approaches, and he is convinced that he will be killed by the spirit of the man… or perhaps he was reincarnated as the odd boy living next door? It is up to Sarah Landon to help find out the truth and save his life!

Ultimately, “Sarah Landon…” looked more like an Afterschool TV Special. The script did not require a huge budget, so the issue was not money but lackluster production, uninspired directing, and mediocre acting. If there are anymore Sarah Landon mysteries, I suspect they will be direct to video. The movie was certainly not a terrible movie, but it did not look like it was destined for the big screen.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral
Neutral—This movie had no bad language, no sex, no gore, it was clean, in that standard. However, it did center around a boy finding out that on his 21 birthday his uncle would kill him, because of the fact his mother had had a car wreck and the uncle’s son died. He thinks he’s in the clear, since the uncle died, but he’s not. The uncle is coming back. So, in that it’s Biblically offensive. But, if you want a psychological thriller without tons of crap in it, watch this movie.

I have watched the Christian thriller “House” by Ted Decker and Frank Peretti, and did not get as scared as I did watching this movie. And “House” is rated R for being scary (just that, no other stuff, because it’s a Christian movie—just “R” for scary). The end of “…Paranormal Hour” left me shaking in my boyfriend’s arms (we watched it together). I was so freaked out. So, if you want a scare without sex and bad language, watch this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jessica Cagle, age 20 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I went to go see this movie with my 11 year old sister. My mom doesn’t usually let me see horror movies because she doesn’t like stuff like that, but since this was only rated PG. We were allowed to see it. Me and my sister went into the theater and there was not one person there. This was not a very popular movie. Right before, the movie started, this old lady came in and sat down. The movie started, and I thought it kind of seemed like a made-for-TV movie. Then in the first 20 minutes there was about 4 scary parts that even scared me, and I don’t get scared easily.

Then I looked over at my sister, and she about to start crying. I asked her what the problem was, and she said she was scared and wanted to leave. (It didn’t help that the only other person in the whole theater was an old lady who looked just like the one from the film.) So, I wanted to finish the rest of the movie, but I wanted to be a nice sister. So, I left with her. I was going to get my money back, but I just decided not to. Warning, do not take your young kids to this movie. It is way too scary for a PG movie.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Ashley, age 14