“Realm Of Souls” is a blended found footage/traditional campy horror film with heavy supernatural overtures. The film is directed by Chase Smith, who wrote the script as well, and stars Lance Paul Hoover, Ella Bardine, Chase Smith, Jon Bailey. The story focuses on a documentary team searching the whereabouts of colleagues who go missing after they set out to document some of Georgia’s most notorious haunted locations.
The story is a multi-layered amalgamation of traditional third person point-of-view, found footage and supernatural-with the classic killer-in-the-woods amping things up. It sounds complicated, and a bit too much, and in most cases these attempts are just that. There is often incoherent story arcs, schizophrenic scene changes, etc., something that Smith managed-for the most part-to avoid with “Realm Of Souls”. The story manages to stay together and move forward as intended. There are some sticky points that sort of irked me, the constant switching between the genre film styles at this rate of transition does distract some from the intense chilling atmosphere at times.
The other aspect of “Realm Of Souls” that was a bit bothersome was the ineffectual supernatural characters, and the fact that the first forty minutes – after an awesomely gratuitous opening sequence-feel flat and seemed to drag on too long. Other than that there is so many more things to like about this one. The fact that Chase Smith is able to make this amount of film stylizing, and different horror elements string together is a sign of real talent and story telling. The cast give decent performances for the most part, bringing the characters closer to “believable”. There are times that many of the cast get shaky and lose the drama in several scenes, but it is inconsistent, which never makes the film un-watchable.
The special effects and creature make-up both are nicely accomplished through practical and standard CGI-only what is necessary to tell the supernatural aspect of the story. There is plenty of gore, blood splatter, and screams in “Realm Of Souls” to entertain most horror fans, provided you get past the cinematic choices that Smith takes to bring this nightmare to life. I hung in there and I am glad. Although the points I mentioned that bothered me-really bothered me, every time the dark, creepy horror took over in the film I felt satisfied. The kills are delightful in this one. Blunt, visceral, and gruesome.
Overall “Realm Of Souls” is a worthy effort to create a more interesting found footage ghost story. Chase Smith takes a chance and on many levels it works to his good. The story is fluid, layered, and dark. The blood and guts get a B from me, although I think he could have upped the ante with more graphic, splatter flick kill sequences. The soundtrack is hit or miss with some good instrumental and music choices pushing against a few really bad ones that just didn’t fit the scene or enhance the moment, other than that “Realm Of Souls” is one that I will watch again.