#InsiderReviews: Paranormal: not just another bedtime horror story

The new series aired exclusively on Netflix. Paranormal exceeded everyone's expectations and made it to the top charts just a few hours after its release date! So what exactly made this series different? Was

*Opinion Article

As an Arab, and particularly as an Egyptian, you should be proud of what the late Ahmed Khaled Tawfik had created. Netflix aced it when they decided to team up with Amr Salama and his cast to polish up this hidden gem and bring it to light.

The new series aired exclusively on Netflix. Paranormal exceeded everyone’s expectations and made it to the top charts just a few hours after its release date! So what exactly made this series different? Was it the cast? The director? The events? Well, the answer is all of the above.

  •  Cinematography:

When you watch the series, you will observe several things: from dark setting, a spooky mansion, a cave and a tomb all the way to the dark colors used mostly to foreshadow the dark events that happened. The composition of the shots was also a real one. Amr Salama said it himself, stating, “The room where Refaat Ismail had dead bodies. Those bodies were portrayed by people who had to stop their breaths and maintain their posture for a long while which was even harder when you have to be in a pool of blood which was very cold for them.” He also explained that they tried their best to provide heaters, as they didn’t want any risks to the staff.
Salama also added that the mansions where the shooting took place are real, located in Al-Manyal and Al-Mazareeta. The spooky vibes and the owl were real too! They had a trained owl do the beginning.

What made the cinematography accurate and put the viewer in such a mood was how they tried to make everything look as real as possible.

  •  Character Sketch:

I guess that we all fell in love with Ahmed Amin’s performance. A lot of the audience did not expect to see that gloomy bleak side of him being brought into character that well. We expected to see a hesitant performance but he aced it. Amin played the main character, Dr. Refaat Ismail. The cynical sarcastic, double minded, broken man. He was forty but he acted like 70, but who could blame him? He was a buildup of a series of traumatic events, which almost made him go crazy at some point. First, he was haunted by Shiraaz, then became the reason of his brother’s permanent injury, despite studying medicine in Scotland and meeting the love of his life, he was scared of not meeting her expectations, as he didn’t with his family so he backed off until she was the one that got away. Dr. Ismail was a walking paradox. Ismail says he is a man who believes in science but we see him chase a spell to break the plague’s curse and is over Maggie but we see him still hung up on her. He says the supernatural is not real, yet we see him playing with them in flashbacks.
And the most common obvious paradox that he was a doctor yet he practiced all the wrong habits like smoking heavily, and drinking too much coffee. Not to mention, he became a professor lecturer rather than an actual doctor who treats patients.

And let’s not forget the little girl who played Shiraz. The young child actress Reem Abdel Kader made sure to leave her mark in the silver screen world once and for all. With her outstanding performance, I’m pretty sure she managed to scare the hell out of a lot of adults! The girl said this experience was “a once in a lifetime chance”, which is a pretty smart statement considering her age

  • Women in the series

And of course the series wouldn’t be a hit if it wasn’t for fellow stars Razan Jammal who played Maggie, Aya samaha who played Hwayda, and Samaa Ibrahim who played Raefa. These three fresh faces proved to us that women won’t hesitate to risk it all for their beloved ones. Even if it means going into a dessert or a cave, battling death face-to-face in a coma or even stepping into a haunted house. The actresses described the challenges they faced, explaining that it was hard to hold a grip over reality after the shooting was over as they felt very close to the characters.

  • Foreshadowing and symbolism

Well this point on, there may be a bit of a spoiler but it’s important to discuss. Salama made sure that everything foreshadowed something or symbolized something or even showed the true color of things.

For instance, let’s talk about the owl in the beginning. It is known that an owl is an omen for bad luck and the series wasn’t exactly rainbows and butterflies! Then we have Refaat’s way of clothing and dressing up. The neutral bleak colors he wore reflected his cynical attitude. The spilled coffee at the end is to show that some proverbs are faulty like “Spilling coffee means good luck”. The small sized engagement ring symbolizes how inconvenient Refaat is with Hwayda and that they both deserved better.

To wrap it up, if you are still looking for what to watch, you should definitely watch this series. If you already watched it, watch it again! Pretty sure after reading this article, a lot loopholes will make sense now. And remember to brag about this series if you have non-Arab friends!