X-Files + New Zealand = Wellington Paranormal

“We’re like Mulder and Skully. She’s like Skully because she’s analytical and got the brains. I’m like Mulder because I’m a man with brown hair. Another way we’re like Mulder and Skully is we’ve got underlying sexual tension” Followed by an awkward silence and staring into the camera – you just experienced the tip of the baffling iceberg that is Wellington Paranormal.

From the New Zealand comedy genius Writers, Producers, Actors and Directors - Jemaine Clement, Paul Yates and Taiki Waititi have created yet another horror/comedy cult classic in the making.

Set in the same cinematic universe as Clement and Waititi’s previous ridiculous supernatural mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows, Wellington Paranormal is a new TV series following two police officers investigating various paranormal activities in Wellington, New Zealand.

Within the first 5 minutes of Episode 1 titled “Demon Girl”, it’s inherently clear what to expect from this series. I was hooked straight away by it’s ‘The Office meets X-Files on Channel 9 News’ vibe. Cinematography by DJ Stipsen, bizarre dry humour and over the top moments met with total obliviousness from our leading cast. It’s stupid, witty, entertaining, awkward, dark and plenty of charm to spare.

The two main characters Monigue and O’Leary (played by Mike Monigue and Karen O’Leary) respond to everything out of this world in the most dry, downplayed and understating way possible.

To quote Officer Monigue “Nah, that’s not right”, responding to a possessed person’s head spinning around and vomiting acid.

Senior Sergeant Maaka (played by Maaka Pohatu) deserves mentioning, as his role is integral in keeping momentum of the show’s paranormal mysteries and investigations going. He is a goldmine of questionable supernatural knowledge and awkwardness, a true comedy gem and highlight of the series.

The best parts about this series are the acting, the witty and ridiculous script, even the special and practical effects are high quality to an extent but still a tad goofy to keep the overall feel of the show. Plus being a TV series and not a movie this time round, there is plenty of new monsters and mysteries to be shown. Easily potential for a Season 2 with the amount of paranormal ideas Clement and Waititi could work with.

The only downsides of Wellington Paranormal I can see is the niche comedy and filming style, not everyone will get it. It can get predictable and slow at times, holding the punchline of a joke for more than enough time needed creating long awkward silences. Sometimes it’s funny and other times it’s not, having been done already in the previous episode. Whether that adds to the overall awkward comedy you may enjoy or not, it’s left up to the viewers discretion.

No matter how stupid and ridiculous it gets on screen, O’Leary and Monigue keep a straight face throughout the whole ordeal. With no canned laughter and plenty of dry humour, It gives a bizarre and stark contrast of reaction that allows the viewer to compensate – This is what makes Wellington Paranormal work.

I highly recommend checking this gem out, and I’m giving Wellington Paranormal 8 Abducted Cows out of 10.

by Mitch Ramsay

#filmreview #tvseriesreview #newzealand #xfiles #comedy #horror #jemaineclement #whatwedointheshadows #cops #mockumentary


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