Supernatural Activity (2012)
Director: Derek Lee Nixon
Writers: Andrew Pozza
Starring: Andrew Pozza, Liddy Bisanz, and Joey Oglesby

The Plot: Damon Dealer (Andrew Pozza) is a Criss Angel-style illusionist and he is the host of the TV program “Supernatural Activity.” This is a ghost-hunter style program that attempts to discover proof of actual hauntings and supernatural events. However, Dealer is sick of fooling his audience and he intends to expose his own television show. He begins shooting a documentary that he plans to release after the latest season of the show ends. As he goes through the process of choosing his final subject for the season, his first intention is to expose a random scam, but his girlfriend, who is a die hard believer, wants to cover the Smallsquatch. Damon doesn’t want to expose the Smallsquatch because his girlfriend is absolutely obsessed with this half-witch/half-bigfoot story, and whatever is chosen will absolutely be debunked once he reveals the background shenanigans that go on within his show. Oddly enough, when Damon and his crew reluctantly show up to investigate the Smallsquatch, they find a small town that may in fact be dealing with a very real case of Supernatural activity.

The Review
As of writing, I realize that this is October and it is my job to cover horror movies, but I can’t say that Supernatural Activity was high on my list of movies to search out. I had seen the trailer on other Well Go USA videos, but I’m usually not one to search out spoof movies. This is a genre that has burned me one too many times. I suspect that many readers probably feel the same way. These movies often deliver the cheapest jokes that can be thrown at a lowest-common-denominator audience. I imagine the preferred audience would be viewers who are usually happy to be told what is funny and where the punchlines are supposed to be. However, the trailer for Supernatural Activity actually had a few funny lines. I remember being slightly surprised finding myself laughing while watching. So, when the movie arrived on my doorstep, it seemed to be the perfect time to give it a shot. If you follow my writing, you know that I am not one to completely rip into any movie. It isn’t in my style. So, I won’t go on any tirades against Supernatural Activity, but I will try to be unbiased and truthful. So, in many ways, my initial hesitation to the genre turns out to be warranted, and yet, it isn’t quite the miserable experience I feared that it would be if it turned out to be another one of “those” types of spoof movies.

On the positive side of things, the filmmakers do attempt to try to take a few new directions in terms of comedic timing and the types of jokes that are put into use. As hard as it may be to believe, I did in fact laugh a few times during this movie. I have a weakness for bad puns, so I won’t say that the biggest laughs that came from me were from the wittiest lines of dialogue audiences will find. I think most of my laughs came from Brock, the chiseled paranormal detective who has no purpose in life other than taking off his shirt. Some of his introductory lines are classic. “When I go to the gym, the weights catch a pump” might be incredibly stupid, but did I laugh? Absolutely. The movie does manage to become slightly more interesting as the movie tries to layer jokes and attempt some different material than what might normally be found in a movie such as this one. There’s some use of the pregnant pause, where characters go completely blank while scenes become so awkward that they become funny, and a ton of meta jokes along the way. The movie wants the audience to know that it doesn’t take itself serious, and that is certainly nice to know, but it doesn’t escape the fact that the majority of these jokes do not work.

Imagine any average activity or occurrence, and then imagine some sort of “reversal” or “zany” thing happening that is outside of the norm. That’s basically the comedy that is in full effect during Supernatural Activity. Sound pretty boring and unimaginative? It is. For example, during a shot that is supposed to show the transition from night to morning, we are given the classic “rooster crowing” background soundtrack. For no explicable reason, the rooster sounds as if it is killed at the end of the shot. If this strikes you as “random” or humorous, then perhaps Supernatural Activity will light up your life. However, while watching the scene, I could not think of anything more predictable. Supernatural Activity is usually at its best when it deals less with straightforward jokes and more with the absurd nature of its characters. Instead, often we are relegated to comedy that is only two or three points away from the comedic gold that arises from a man slipping on a banana peel. Is this the humor that defines the spoof genre? I hardly think so. When you go back and look at Airplane!, the genesis for these random spoof movies, the Zucker brothers at least tried their very best to create jokes that relied heavily on wordplay and very silly ideas played off with straight characters who could help sell the silliness. After Scary Movie, it seems that these movies hit their plateau. Supernatural Activity is far from the worst product that this genre has ever produced, but it doesn’t do a whole lot to step out and become something that is better than what one should expect of these movies.

Aside from simply throwing swerves, most of the comedy within the movie relies heavily on pop culture references. Not even references that are remotely witty or pertinent to the situation at hand. Featuring the absolute worst impersonation of Robert Downey Jr.’s character from Tropic Thunder that the world has ever seen, as well as a very quick cut-a-way shot that is supposed to serve as a “funny” reference to Inception, the references aren’t always the strongest aspect of this movie. Some are actually quite bizarre, including a sequence where the movie seems to stop for a decent period of time in order to make reference towards The Blair Witch Project. This only seems odd because Blair Witch is a movie that most younger viewers, the audience that will likely find Supernatural Activity on DVD, have likely never seen it. Yet, despite everything, the performances in this movie are surprisingly strong. Sure, the writing is a bit dense (So, the smallsquatch is a physical entity? A demon? Huh?), but the actors all come across as believers in this film. They try their best to be as charismatic as possible and for the most part they succeed. Their faith, unfortunately, is not enough to save the movie.

The Conclusion
At this point, I’ve probably buried Supernatural Activity enough that readers might expect me to give it an absolutely horrible rating. I don’t honestly believe it is worth all that. There were some funny lines throughout the movie, and some of the characters are fairly entertaining. As wonky as it may be, there are at least a few bits to enjoy. Ultimately, I give it a two out of five. This is bad, but it showed promise in more than one area. There is an audience for Supernatural Activity, and while I am not one of the most obvious members of it, I don’t think down it’s a movie that necessarily deserves any sense of hatred.

Supernatural Activity has been released on DVD via Wellgo USA and should be available in most major retail outlets.

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