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New Release Review [VOD] - PARANORMAL FARM 3: HALLOWEEN

paranormal farm 3 review
Carl and Taz return to the farm for more meta hijinks.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Carl Medland

Starring: Carl Medland, Mumtaz Yildirimlar, Darren Earl Williams, Lucy French, Caroline Burns Cooke, Nicole Faraday

paranormal farm 3 poster



If you are not yet familiar with the previous instalments of the Paranormal Farm franchise (which do for agricultural living what Cujo did for being locked in a car with a dehydrated child) then I urge you to get your wellies on and seek them out. Even though I have tried my best here, I’m not really sure that anyone can do their sincere oddness justice in words. This is an experience that can only be encountered first-hand. Both Paranormal Farm and Paranormal Farm 2 are on Amazon Prime,along with this latest instalment, and if you don’t have that service then I advise signing up for the free trial just for Carl Medland’s (writer/producer/star/maniac) found footage farmyard trilogy. Feel free to cancel the subscription immediately after watching them: you won’t find anything more bizarre. Except, imagine my delight when Medland got in touch with me earlier this month, offering the exciting news that he has only gone and made a third instalment of his pasture based supernatural series.

paranormal farm 3 review

In this particular entry, we once again pick up with Carl and Taz (Mumtaz Yildirimlar) who are, again, back at the same farm where all of the previous shenanigans occurred. Now, this is where it gets a bit complicated plot-wise. The conceit of the first film is that Carl and Taz are investigating supposed ghostly activity on this remote freehold (Carl is a spiritualist). It starts to go tits up when some nobs in clown masks chase our heroes about and it finally turns out that the vernacular inhabitants of the farm (Lucy and Darren) have faked the hauntings in order to trap Carl and eat him to death in a stew. Then in Paranormal Farm 2, it turns out that the first film was dramatised but honestly, the farm really is haunted now because they’ve gone back to capture some BTS stuff for the first film’s DVD release and this time shit really is going down. Once again Carl is killed (this time by a demon standing in the middle of the road), after being chased in a (actually highly effective) sequence involving mannequins. In Paranormal Farm 3, the extenuation is that our boys are back in Devon’s pastures to get the release signatures of Darren and Lucy, ostensibly for the blu-ray release (hmmm) of the preceding movie, which was again a mere drama. Carl Medland? Carl METAland, more like!

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To be honest, after writing over a thousand words on the prior instalments and interviewing Carl himself, I was worried that I wouldn’t have much else to say about a third instalment of Paranormal Farm. Oh, me of little faith. From the off, with Taz and Carl genteelly bickering in the car about distributors, then arriving at the farmhouse to witness Darren and Lucy unconvincingly fighting those pesky mannequins, it was like slipping into a comfortable Barbour (and discovering that someone had put random objects in the pockets for a laugh). Said mannequins are the sort that you see in Debenhams wearing pants, except Lucy and Darren have, for whatever reason, dolled them up in ski gear. One plastic model seems to have Darren by the throat and the other has Lucy up against the wall (i.e., the actors are holding them tightly against their own bodies). Carl and Taz push the mannequins to one side, and Carl politely asks, "Has this happened before?," to which Darren goes, "One or two times." Carl gently rationalises, "Let’s have a nice dinner and try not to worry about it." Completely normal!

paranormal farm 3 review

But scoffing at such non sequiturs is to profoundly misunderstand the uncanny and unsettling pleasures of Paranormal Farm 3’s skewed mimesis. As in the previous film, the commitment to verisimilitude is overwhelming: Darren and Lucy’s house is, put bluntly, an authentic looking mess, with piles of un-ironed clothes just stacked seemingly everywhere, along with open packets of food. There is a scene midway where Carl and Taz wander into the private garden of a CLEARLY BLIND woman, and Carl starts (apropos of nothing) asking her what the names of certain trees are. She has to awkwardly clarify that she is hard of seeing, to which Carl explains that he has no idea how "to be around blind people" and the whole thing is insanely awkward.

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But within this pragmatic milieu, narrative sequences have the free association of a half remembered drunken evening out. My favourite is when Taz and Carl (who, it has to be said, has an even more amazing hair cut this time around) are sitting in a jacuzzi at night sneakily pissing on each other, and then Lucy rocks up in a bikini with some lavender bubble bath; she pours it in and promptly falls asleep, then Carl spots something off camera, investigates and gets blood all down him.

I did say it was hard to put into words.

paranormal farm 3 review

An added wrinkle this time around is Darren and Lucy’s diva behaviour. They quibble over signing the release forms. They seem a bit weary. At one exquisitely uncomfortable moment Darren has a right old go at Carl, stating that he and Taz "are starting to piss around too much." You’re not quite sure if this is Darren in character telling Carl in character off, or if this is actually Darren the man (billed as Darren Earl Williams on imdb for his three PF credits) actually losing it with these two soft lads who turn up at his home to knock out a weird film every single year. Either outcome could be true, and both are equally relevant to the film’s beguiling weirdness.

There seems something compulsive about the circular narratives of this trilogy, an obsessive edge to its various narrative permutations. In my previous review I said that I was completely serious in my love for these films, but that I couldn’t be completely sure that Carl himself was being serious when he made them. With this instalment however, with its fealty to mannequins, dead daughters and heavily medicated acting styles, along with new narrative twists involving incest, murder and inter-generational sex, and the authentic and committed strangeness with which it is all related, I’m actually beginning to worry for my man’s mental stability.

Paranormal Farm 3: Halloween is on VOD now.




2019 movie reviews