The ParaPod – A Very British Ghost Hunt (2020)

As the film industry finds itself being dominated by franchises, prequels and sequels, it’s great to see initiative when it comes to adapting a different form of source material altogether. The Parapod Movie is the first feature length film based on a podcast. The Parapod is a podcast that sees paranormal believer Barry Dodds and his skeptic friend, Ian Boldsworth discuss whether paranormal existence is real. Among the years, they have discussed the paranormal, mysteries and conspiracy theories that cover a wide range of subjects, garnering a huge fan base along the way. As the podcast has grown, making a film seems like a logical step and works really well thanks to the subject.

Directed by its star Ian Boldsworth, The Parapod Movie is centred on a podcasting session between Boldsworth and Dodds who reminisce about the latter’s attempt to convince the former that the paranormal does exist. Travelling to various locations across the UK, the team venture into some creepy locations including the Edinburgh Vaults where Dodds is convinced he sees something. Boldsworth directs in his debut and does a great job of incorporating elements of documentary including interviews with psychologists and journalists whilst also giving the audience a closer look into his friendship with Dodds. Completely honest in his approach, The Parapod Movie mixes documentary and mockumentary.

The film’s stars, Ian Boldsworth and Barry Dodds, are the driving force behind the film and it is their back and forth banter that acts as the engine and propels the film onwards. Even when faced with Ian’s pranks and jokes, Barry is certain of paranormal existence. Due to the documentary nature of the film, we see their friendship tested and even an argument after a prank goes horribly wrong. However, the scariest scene in the film comes when Barry believes he sees something and the look on his face is genuine terror. It doesn’t matter whether there was something there or not but the reaction Barry has was real and makes the audience question what it was. Seeing Ian’s concern for Barry immediately flips the tone of the film and drives it into horror territory.

The first thing that strikes you about the film is the music by Thomas van der Ree. Mixing in elements of horror, the soundtrack works well for the film as it constantly provides a darker undertone, even during the funnier moments. The opening track does a fantastic job of setting the mood and tone as we hear and see jilted footage of Barry’s panic attack. The music also does a great job in threading the film together as it provides a consistency and momentum that works well against the various locations visited.

The editing by Simon Gibbs is really what makes this film a truly great cinematic experience. Gibbs’ use of mixing various camera shots and different kinds of footage makes the film unpredictability and, at times, uneasy to watch. Mixing in scenes of lingering tension with single takes as well as scenes that has uses different disorientating angles to bring across the uncertainty and fear in the scene bring an element of horror to the film in a way that makes any paranormal presence unimportant regardless.

Overall, The Parapod Movie does a great job of incorporating its podcast roots into a cinematic format. Relying heavily on Boldsworth and Dodds’ fantastic partnership, the film is enjoyable to watch and a great treat for fans of The Parapod and equally as thrilling for those who haven’t listened to the original podcast before.

What did you think of The Parapod Movie? Let me know in the comments below!

The Parapod Movie is available to buy digitally from 27th September 2021!

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