On the IMDb page for Russian horror Paranormal Drive or Marshrut postroen as it’s called originally the synopsis reads “Contemporary Russia. A young couple finds a great deal on a used BMW. Unfortunately, it’s haunted.” This basically sums up the whole film so I think I will leave my review at that as my mother always said if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all.
Only kidding if I stopped ripping into terrible horror films we wouldn’t have a website!
As you can probably guess I was not all that taken with Paranormal Drive in fact if the film was a car I would have demanded it be taken off the road and scrapped straight away. Interestingly however my problem with the movie wasn’t due to the rather impressive special effects, reasonably high production values, cliché ridden story or even the predictable set up it was all on the dreadful and infuriating lead characters.
The cheapskate ghost car purchasing central couple Andrey and Olga, played by Pavel Chinaryov and Svetlana Ustinova, are the type of people I would do anything to avoid in real life. He is a misogynistic rude idiot who when not being a terrible father is busy being a terrible partner and she is a paranoid moaning schizo mood changing harpy whose only redeeming feature is she is actually right about how awful her man is not that she seems willing to split up with him though.
If you pulled up alongside this pair ridding in their four wheeled ghost infested wagon at traffic lights you would see them bickering, arguing, yelling and fighting all the while ignoring their poor child in the car seat at the back and the dead woman that haunts their ride.
In fact they would probably roll the window down and start shouting at you for watching them just before they screeched off snogging frantically after making up leaving behind tire tracks and possibly their kid on the pavement.
Playing out like Ice Cube’s humiliating kiddy comedy Are We There Yet? with added undead vengeful spirts or Tom Hardy’s Locke giving The Blair Witch a lift, Paranormal Drive follows Andrey and Olga plus aforementioned psychologically abused offspring as they attempt to go on holiday in their BMW which here stands for Beware Murdered Woman.
On the ridiculously long drive the horrible couple quarrel constantly about the poor state of their relationship while the spirit of a slaughtered mother who was bundled in the boot of the car and found months later makes her presence known in a series of supposedly scary ways none of which Andrey seems to notice.
Adhering firmly to the sudden loud noise or gruesome special effect school of horror and little else the jumps in Paranormal Drive fail to inspire anything other than an involuntary physical response despite the previously cited exceptional CGI the film heavily relies on due to the lack of any real atmosphere or tension.
In fact come to think of it some of that effects money should have perhaps gone to sorting out the subtitles which are laughably bad and at times nonsensical as if the production team had just run the script through Google Translate without having anyone with even a toddlers grasp of English check them before releasing it.
As I sat watching scene after scene of the Andrey and Olga fight in the car, fight out of the car, separate, hear a creepy noise, get back in the car and fight again broken up by the all to frequent scenes of them leaving their small child alone to find them, shock horror, gone on their return, I wondered why the hell this film had done so amazingly well in Russia and made it to FrightFest.
In my boredom it dawned on me that perhaps Paranormal Drive was far cleverer than I first thought and was in no way designed to appeal to me at all but to the real life Andrey and Olga’s or should I say Andy and Olivia’s that worryingly exist. Possibly having clashed over what cinema to visit, rowed about why he keeps checking his mobile and disagreed on leaving the baby with the dog instead of a babysitter these hideous human beings would probably watch the film and totally identify with the main characters lives.
If that’s the case I just hope all of them meet the same fate as their filmic counterparts because I don’t want to live in a world full of people like that!