J.D. Lafrance
Ghost Hunters International: Season 1, Part 1 DVD Review

Ghost Hunters International: Season 1, Part 1

June 14, 2010

Starring: Robb Demarest, Brian Harnois, Barry Fitzgerald, Donna LaCroix, Shannon Sylvia, Brandy Green, Dustin Pari,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

The SciFi Channel (now SyFy) hit the motherlode with the surprise success of Ghost Hunters, a reality television show where a team of investigators explore paranormal activity at a reputedly haunted location somewhere in the United States. Imagine the Ghostbusters (1984) but with the aesthetics and overall tone of The Blair Witch Project (1999). The popularity of Ghost Hunters spawned several imitators on other T.V. channels as well as spin-offs of their own. Chief among them is Ghost Hunters International which applies the formula of the original show to haunted sites all over the world.

Finding that they are getting a lot requests from abroad but are unable to investigate them because of family commitments, Grant and Jason from Ghost Hunters decide to form an international investigation team led by Robb Demarest from the Florida branch. Their first case is in England and the 800-year-old Chillingham Castle, reputed to be the most haunted castle in the country. To be fair, at night with no lights on, the place does have a foreboding vibe.

Not surprisingly, most of the cases take place in the United Kingdom so that there is no issue with a foreign language but they do go to Italy and check out a haunted monastery with a reported demonic presence, Transylvania, Slovakia (gothic compound), Germany (a headless ghost), and Germany where they team up with Destination Truth’s Josh Gates to investigate Frankenstein’s castle.

Each episode is broken up into two separate cases. The investigators are given the backstory to the place, eyewitness accounts of paranormal activity, a tour of the site, and then the investigation begins. The team’s goal is to prove or disprove the presence of paranormal activity. The team waits until night and breaks up into couples and explores the site. The investigators are equipped with an array of scientific equipment including thermal imaging and an electronic voice phenomenon device that picks up noises not detectable by the human ear. Each episode mixes footage of the investigation with soundbite interviews with the team members conducted after the fact. After the investigation, they review the evidence and then present their findings to the client.

What is refreshing about Ghost Hunters International is that it takes the Ghost Hunters template on the road all over the world. The investigators are skeptical and are looking to debunk things that were thought to be unexplainable. They attempt to capture potential evidence of the paranormal but unfortunately most of what they find consists of the odd disembodied voice or footage of a strange shadow. The investigators do often experience something first hand but it are rarely recorded and therein lies the rub. Still, if you are even remotely interested in the unexplained, the show is entertaining to watch but unfortunately the personalities of the team aren’t as distinctive as the ones on the original Ghost Hunters. On Ghost Hunters International, the exotic locations are the real star of the show.

Special Features:

There is over an hour’s worth of deleted/extended scenes for every episode. We get more backstories to the various haunted locations and naturally we see more of the investigations themselves.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 76%

Website: http://www.syfy.com/ghosthuntersinternational/home.php


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