Paranormal Investigators

By Markus Meedt | Comedy
A young woman takes a job investigating supernatural phenomena...

Abi is starting an internship at the British Paranormal Investigation Team, an agency that investigates supernatural phenomena. Her first day has a bumpy start: she fails to impress the team skeptic and alienates Ewan, the medium, who can't quite read into her mind.

As the day wears on and the team investigates its roster of cases -- most of which are false alarms -- Abi enters a new world, managing to make contributions and impress team leader Toby with her reasonable intelligence and unflappable attitude, even in the face of deflating false alarms. But when they finally come across a real case of malevolent paranormal presence, Abi gets a chance to prove her mettle.

Directed by Markus Meedt from a script written by producers Alex Gibbons and Howard Perret, this horror-comedy applies the mores and conventions of a workplace comedy to a cheeky take on the spooky and paranormal. The result is a lighthearted, entertaining riff on both genres of storytelling, complete with intriguing characters and plenty of British wit.

BPIT is essentially an amiably semi-functional workplace, and the naturalistic direction and visuals seem to emphasize the workaday nature of the company over its otherworldly services. Even when they traffic in ghosts, the group still deals with inter-office politics and customer abuses of the free consultation, and the writing has a lot of fun with both its world-building and its workplace satire. Part of the enjoyment is that the storytelling treats ghosts, hauntings and the like as if they were everyday pests, along the lines of a household inconvenience like broken-down plumbing or bug infestations.

And as with many workplace comedies, much of the appeal comes from the film's ensemble of quirky, memorable characters, ranging from stylish yet suspicious (and perhaps secretly incompetent) Ewan, played by actor Edward Mitchell, to the genial, resigned Toby, who is played by writer/producer Howard Perret. As Abi, actor Alice Etches proves a sympathetic anchoring presence, both grounded, smart and humble as a young woman finding her place. Yet underneath that competent demeanor, Abi reveals a particular talent and predilection for dealing with the paranormal -- and so the intern becomes a valuable part of the team.

It's a testament to the cleverness and fun of "Paranormal Investigators" that, by its end, we're eager to see what this newly cemented team will face next, whether it's another household annoyance in the form of a spook or a truly dangerous supernatural spirit. Beyond the excellent storytelling, cheeky one-liners and amusing take on its genres, it's laid the foundation for a fascinating, evolving group of characters to grow, evolve and adventure together -- with a core of unflappable good humor, wit and civility, even in the face of the mischievously sinister.

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