Evidence of a Haunting (2010)

Rating: D

Dir: Joey Evans
Star: Jessica D. Fulling, Renee Wiggins, Scott Evans, Korin Medina

I don’t have a great tolerance for those ghost-hunting shows which are now ten a penny on certain cable channels. Most of them are laughably implausible and not at all convincing. So, it’s no surprise that I was entirely immune to the charms of this, a low-budget and generally poorly-acted version of the genre. It covers three investigations carried out by the six members of the Supernatural Phenomena Research Society. These include Rayne (Fulling), the leader; Wiccan priestess Shelley (Wiggins); clergyman Will (Bowden); and psychic Echo (Medina), who must have come directly off her shift at Hot Topic. Meanwhile, Rayne and Shelley appear to be in a relationship, which seems entirely inappropriate on a number of levels. 

If the characters are little more than tropes, the investigations struggle to reach that level. The first is an almost shameless Exorcist rip-off, on which a young girl gets possessed by a demon, though the ease with which the entity gets cast out is thoroughly underwhelming. The second is a poltergeist which signals its disturbing presence to a home-owner by… turning off the TV. A spirit with taste. Who knew? Turns out, someone mailed his daughters a ouija board, and their use opened a portal for the ghost of a native American medicine man. Again, this is resolved with almost trivial ease, by chopping up and burning the ouija board. They celebrate with a trip to a bar, engaging in banal chit-chat that I imagine was intended to sound like real people. 

After this shameless padding, complete with gratuitous cleavage shots, we get to the main case. This sees the SPRS  exploring an abandoned set of tunnels below a Texas college campus. I will say, this is at least a decent location, and when Evans simply steps back and lets the underground atmosphere do its thing, the film is at its best. Occasionally for as long as a couple of minutes! All too soon though, he can’t resist the temptation to have the spirit of “Benjamin” bang out a rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the pipes. Or worse: he lets the actors speak. We do, at least, learn why the earlier exorcism was so easy. The demonic entity just relocated and has been hiding, dormant, in another member of the team. I hope it enjoyed the bar nachos.

Things grind on towards a climax which is every bit as underwhelming as the rest of the film has been. It doesn’t even abide consistently by the rules of the found footage subgenre. Although the movie initially sticks to shots from the cameras placed by the team around the setting, by the end this conceit has been abandoned. This further distances the film from any kind of “reality,” though it was on sketchy ground there from the beginning. That few of the actors subsequently worked on anything else, except for Evans’s Alien Zombie Invasion, likely says a lot. Never mind hauntings, I’m sceptical about there being any evidence of talent.