Tonight, Syfy premieres a paranormal series – Paranormal Witness [Wednesdays, 10/9C] – that is apparently based completely on eyewitness testimony. Real or not, the series premiere is pretty creepy.
Paranormal Witness premieres with two tales that sound like B-movie fodder: Emily, The Imaginary Friend and The Lost Girl. The former is based on the experiences of a young Baltimore family; the latter on a roadside encounter.
In Emily, The Imaginary Friend, that young Baltimore family – mom, dad and five-year old daughter – move into a house that they purchased for an unbelievably low price. At first everything seems pretty normal – except that it takes five coats of grey primer to cover the deep red paint on the walls of the daughter’s bedroom.
Then the daughter starts waving at the attic door every time she passes it – and begins talking and playing with Emily, whom her parents believe to be an imaginary friends. Things escalate to the point where there are unexplainable shadows, physical events that defy rational thought, and an apparent possession.
In The Lost Girl, a teenage girl and her mom are driving home as the sun goes down when the daughter sees what appears to be a child in the grass off to the side of the road. When they turn back to see if they can help, the girl has vanished – only to reappear a good distance later when there’s no way a real girl could move that quickly. Mom slows down to see if the girl needs help and… things get really weird.
The press kit for the series says that Paranormal Witness ‘uses a mixture of intimate first-hand testimony, actual home video and gritty realistic drama.’ Each scary tale is narrated by the people who experienced it – and the events they relate don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason [kind of like regular life only, you know, scary – which makes them even more credible].
Between the narration, the editing and the score, each tale – at least in the premiere – packs a certain, creepy punch. Despite my enormous dislike of reality TV in general – and paranormal reality TV in specific – both of the stories in the series premiere got to me in the same way as the best B-movies [like Paranormal Activity, for example].
I’m not going to say whether I believe these events actually happened, but any show, scripted or not, that can give me the creeps is worth checking out.
Final Grade: B