There is a casket full of homogenized ethereal shows on TV depicting some sort of insider-information to the dead. Spoon-fed to the masses with a side-dish of over-processed drama (**cough** – “Zak”) because as we all know – both drama and sex sell. Even for the deceased.
However, not all spirit-shows are as contrived as a fixed marriage. Thus, is the case with the docuseries, “Haunted State” – the brainchild of Wisconsin based director, Michael Brown.
On the surface, Haunted State may at first seem like it was filmed for a graduate project. Home movie style, sometimes questionable editing, clearly not an extravagant budget or production values. BUT - this is the absolute genius in it! You feel like you are right there in the spirit-crowded room organic within the experience opposed to merely watching it on your flat screen.
Michael, along with his trifecta of cohorts; Todd Dehring, Angela Olson, and Anne Benson spelunk deep into the bowels of supposed haunts in the most respectful of ways. The “come at me, bro” type-A mentality of “some” other similar genera afterlife shows is absolutely NOT Haunted State’s hang. Instead, these lucky dead bastard souls get to party with Michael and his buddies – laughing, joking and speaking as if they are perched on the couch next to them. Because essentially, they are.
These Ghostbusters use a standard collection of disembodied soul hunting tools as seen on many other shows. Spirt-box, laser-light array, recorders for EVP sessions, flashlights, etc. but used in a way as not to call too much attention to the technology and instead focus on the personal “relationship” with the deceased. Again, that is what makes Haunted State a trail-blazer in this field. And it seems to work! Amidst the repetitive static sound produced by the spirit-box device (used for communication with the afterlife inhabitants), the conjured apparitions seem to answer nonchalantly as if they were there sitting across a restaurant booth. We speak with the dead now. That’s become normal.
As a connoisseur of sorts to this type of dead-reality shows, I am encouraged by the distinctive approach that Haunted State has taken. I encourage other shows of this type to take note while I sit here with goosebumps, waiting for season-2 to appear like a misty shaped manifestation across my TV.