Paranormal is a fantasy/drama/horror series directed by Amr Salama and Majid Al Ansari, and starring Ahmed Amin, Reem Abd El Kader, Samma Ibrahim, Razane Jammal and Aya Samaha.
I think this is one of the first Egyptian series for me, that too a horror. Paranormal, however, is not a traditional horror series. It’s an adventure and a drama as well and focuses more on the creep factors than anything else. Much like the much-awaited Haunting of Bly Manor, Paranormal, although marketed as a horror, focuses on other aspects that might (or might not) be more horrifying.
Paranormal follows haematologist Dr. Refaat Ismail, who refuses to believe in the supernatural, so much so that he forces himself to not see what is in front of him. But when an old friend persists on making her presence known, it is up to him to go to the bottom of the mystery.
So, as I was saying, if you’re getting into Paranormal for the horror of it, you’re going to be highly disappointed. Unlike Haunting of Bly Manor, which was essentially a story about loss and love, this one is more of an adventure series that has elements of horror in it. It’s the blend of the various genres that makes this one interesting and a tad bit confusing sometimes.
At other times, you’re just left waiting to be horrified, which, unfortunately never happened to me. It’s a creepy show, sure, but there’s not a moment I was horror-stricken, which is a shame. I was absolutely intrigued by the trailer which was extremely promising, but the end result is kind of a mixed package.
This isn’t to say that Paranormal isn’t interesting. There are various entertaining moments in the series, with each one-hour-long episode focusing on one particular lore and weaving that with the overall narrative. The timeline also shifts between two different decades and it’s interesting to see how the creators decided to assimilate all of these themes together. Personally, the last episode was probably the most interesting, and the nifty little cliff-hanger at the end did pique my interest for a season 2.
Paranormal does well with its screenplay and weaves it with the culture and the traditions of Egypt beautifully. The costume and set designs look beautiful and rooted in the time it is supposed to be. Everything looks beautiful and real, thanks to cinematographer Ahmed Beshary. The scenes are rich in colour and often bathed in darkness which adds to the spooky factor of the show.
Additionally, Khaled Al Kammar’s music is spectacular, and the theme that plays throughout is truly morose and creepy and adds to Paranormal’s vibe flawlessly. However, the show does tend to drag sometimes and gets boring. This is especially because you keep waiting for something to scare you, but that never really comes up.
Actors Ahmed Amin, Razane Jammal, Aya Samaha and everyone else is pretty good in the show, especially Amin. The entire series rests on his shoulders, and he does well with his character. Character buildup and background are also pretty great, with Amin’s character, Refaat, getting the most attention. Paranormal employs the odd clumsy style of narration, which is sometimes interesting and entertaining but has the potential to confuse you. Refaat’s cranky and unflinching character and his subsequent arc give him the relatability factor that helps to drive this mostly character-driven show forward.
Summing up: Paranormal
Netflix’s Paranormal is a show that is enjoyable for the most part but will drag sometimes, especially after the third episode. The show focuses on an individual story in between the bigger picture which makes it interesting and mostly fun. The ghosts and the stories are somewhat cliched and it’s nothing absolutely new. Fans of horror will be disappointed at the lack of scares, however, expect ample amounts of spooks and a few jump-scares.
Paranormal is streaming on Netflix.
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