Last time we introduced the idea of Christian horror films and the controversy that genre can create. The recent release of “Pray 3D: The Storm,” (reviewed in Part 1) is likely to stir the debate again. “Pray 3D: The Storm” is the third in a trilogy of Pray DVDs (following “Pray” and “Pray 2”), Christian horror films designed for the younger crowd (12 and older) from Cross Shadow Productions. All of the films come with Bible studies, but most impressive is the film/study “Paranormal,” a stand-alone movie also from Cross Shadow Productions and directed by Matt Mitchell. “Paranormal” is a good fit for the senior youth, but would be a little much for a 12 year-old audience.
The story revolves around a group of paranormal investigators who visit haunted sites in hopes of collecting video and audio evidence of the spirit world. Their expertise is needed by a father to investigate the recent visits by the spirit of his deceased daughter. He has unwittingly stumbled into this spirit world by opening the door through an Ouija board, and the film provides an effective warning against such dabbling into the occult. “Paranormal” is another well-done indie production that makes great use of “reality” footage, this time through the footage collected by the paranormal investigators’ camera crew. One critique is that the viewer wants to see who is running the cameras on several occasions, and it might have been beneficial to have the principals operating the cameras (like was done to great effect in “Pray 3D: The Storm”). This would have added more realism to the scenes, too. This cast includes John Rutland, Maureen MacDonald, Nick Errato, Daniel Gray, Addy Miller, Patrick Downey, Regina McKenzie and Stephen Schaefer. “Paranormal” also does a better-job-than-most job of incorporating Biblical principles into the storyline. You can find more info about this film at www.paranormalthemovie.com.
Cross Shadow Productions knows indie limitations, and works well within the confines of the low budget, and I think viewers appreciate this rather than trying to make a low-budget production look like a big-budget one, and failing miserably. This is what makes “found footage” (of the fake kind) work so well, and viewers are likely to allow more forgiveness to the filmmakers for their mistakes. Otherwise, you can get into serious trouble, which is the major problem of another recent Christian horror film screened called “Evil Behind You.” The special effects in this film do not work, and come off as “attempts.” Add to that a weak story, dialogue, and characters, plus an amateur cast, and you have a film that cannot be recommended. The premise of mind-altering scientific experiments that force a person into the spiritual realm is a premise worth exploring, but this film is not the way to go, and if you are looking for something to scare you, look elsewhere.
One good place (“evil” place? 🙂 ) to look is the film “Last Breath.” Even the more seasoned horror connoisseurs will find this one to their liking. “Last Breath” is clearly an adult horror film, with plenty of blood, gore and adult themes. But it is made with a Christian worldview in mind, and the film should leave you with a better appreciation of the gift of marriage and family.
The story revolves around Michael (Ty Jones) and Tina Johnson (Mandy Bannon), their marriage on its “last breath,” who find themselves thrust into the hands of vengeance. Forced to look fear directly in the face, they must make decisions that will ultimately determine their family’s survival or demise. Done in the vein of the Saw franchise, “Last Breath” is a psychological thriller that explores the consequences of individual choice. This is a strong film, well done in all regards, with solid story and dialogue, wonderful acting, creative directing, and artistic, well thought out cinematography. Director/Writer Ty Jones has a winner here, and proves that Christianity can be thoughtfully entwined in the genre of horror, while still providing the chills. Anyone know of other well-done Christian horror films that could challenge Last Breath as the best Christian horror film out there? And what are your thoughts on this whole idea of “Christian Horror?”

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