Julien Neaves, Editor
Plot: A paranormal investigator, his estranged sister and a production crew investigate a condemned high school that is believed to be haunted.
Context: Now seasoned Red Mango Readers may be wondering what I, your regular Sci Fi/Caribbean writer, is doing reviewing a paranormal investigations found footage horror. Sommer is the Head Horror Writer and Alice is the Paranormal Investigations Head Writer. Infrared would be right up either of their alleys. But nothing is wrong in stepping outside your comfort zone every once in a while, so here we are.
Review: Co-written and co-directed by Rob Livings and Randy Nundlall Jr., Infrared focuses on Wes (Jesse Janzen), an amateur exorcist and paranormal investigator seeking to launch the titular paranormal investigations television show. The location for the pilot is Lincoln High School, which was condemned years ago after a tragic incident and is currently owned by the quirky Geoff (Greg Sestero). Reluctantly joining him on the shoot is his sister Izzy (Leah Finity) who also works in the paranormal field though with an actual connection to the supernatural realm.
The highlight of Infrared, and what sets it apart from similar fare, is the performances. Sestero is the most recognisable of the small cast as he played Mark from so-bad-it’s-perfect unintentional comedy masterpiece The Room. As Geoff aka “The Owner’s Manual” he brings big energy to the odd character and is easily a standout.
But the other leads are no slouches either. Janzen as Wes nails your overly excited, high energy paranormal TV show host. He is a man playing an overly confident character but when the camera switches the cracks begin to appear. And Finity as Izzy has a down-to-earth sweetness and relatability that makes it easy to root for her, and hope she can survive any dark supernatural forces.
With the found footage set-up the film is presented as recovered material. I’m not sure if anyone viewer would be fooled into thinking it is real seeing that the guy from The Room is there, but just roll with it. The paranormal investigations aspect is presented with a level of seriousness which adds to the believability. I’m not sure how authentic everything was, but it appeared authentic to me. And if you are hoping for the typical strange noises and dimly lit scenes (including the green infrared camera setting which gives the film its name) associated with paranormal investigations then you will not be disappointed.
The first two acts establishes the main characters and the lore of Lincoln High School and is admittedly an extended slow burn. At a point I was wondering, “When does the horror part start?” And I can foresee some viewers getting bored and switching off after 30 minutes. But wait! There’s more!
The final act is worth the price of admission because it just goes all out with the intensity. I can’t say I was shocked by what happened (it was not that hard to predict) but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thoroughly entertained. Infrared doesn’t redefine the paranormal found footage sub-genre but is a solid addition to it. And I recommend checking it out when it begins its theatrical screenings (first up is Western Australia from March 4) and eventually hits streaming.
Editor Jules’s Score: 6 out of 10
And you can check out more paranormal content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.