“Nothing Paranormal Going On Here” A Review Of New Zealand’s Newest Mockumentary Series

Piggybacking the success of Taika Waitit’s What We Do In The Shadows, Wellington Paranormal is an innovative horror/comedy/mockumentary spin off following two cops investigating various unusual occurrences in and around New Zealand’s capital.

Directed by Jemaine Clement and Jackie Van Beek this show has an almost identical feel to its source material and is just as humorous. For any fan of What We Do In The Shadows and Waititi’s other works this gem is definitely a crowd pleaser.

The witty writing and creative plot devices respect New Zealand’s classic dry humour and showcase yet another quality piece of art to come out of The Land Of The Long White Cloud.

The first season contains 6 unique episodes, each with a different story; everything from zombie cops doing ‘Thriller’, to alien plants, to demon possession, to 70’s party ghosts, to clowns, to vampires and werewolves, every horror trope crammed into 180 minutes.

Nothing about this series is actually scary, it’s all humour … well maybe besides the 70’s crochet blanket ghost which now that I think about it, shouldn’t be scary at all, but it is.

The direction given by Clement and Van Beek was perfect. Nothing about it was cheesy yet they were able to craft the series into a well thought out, subtly humorous, masterpiece. The storytelling was innovative to say the least.

The actors playing the main character’s Minogue and O’Leary were phenomenal. Perhaps they were just playing themselves, but even then, their comedic timing was impeccable. They certainly knew how to deliver a line.

The camera crew themselves played characters as well, giving off that classic Reality TV/docu series format.

Because of the subtlety and easter eggs, it’s one of those shows you could watch over and over again and still find something new to laugh at every time. If you’re not familiar with the NZ accent then it may be a little difficult to understand what half the characters are saying, so this is another reason to watch it twice.

They certainly utilised the $1.6M budget to the best of their advantage. Of course, the documentary style definitely gave it a low budget feel, which made many of their VFX seem incredibly impressive.

As an independent filmmaker born in the very city it was set in, Wellington Paranormal has a familiarity to it and because of its simple setting, yet intricate story, it personally gives me hope for any future projects I might be involved in. I’m definitely a fan.

Despite only airing 6 episodes so far, Wellington Paranormal has a second season in store  with another 13 episodes since they made more than 4 times their original budget at the international box office, so I can only imagine what ideas they have in store for us next.

This hilariously fun, innovative new series to come out of the land further down under is a show you need to see.

  • Jay Evans

    Editor

    Jay Evans has spent the last 8 years working as a film editor, 4 of which have been with The Initiative Production Company. In his spare time he enjoys music, comedy, experimental cooking and getting lost in the woods.

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