Netflix’s 28 Days Haunted has spurred up a lot of debates online, but is the reality horror series fake or real? We delve into both possibilities. This article may contain spoilers.
There is no denying that there is an audience for true-life paranormal TV shows. There has been a whole host of these sorts of shows from all corners of the globe that show grainy black and white clips of cryptids and shadow people or so-called investigators entering allegedly haunted buildings in the hope of contacting the dead, so it’s no surprise that Netflix would grab the format, tweak it, and present it to their audience, but the question on everyone’s lips — is the Netflix horror reality series 28 Days Haunted fake or real? Let’s dive into that question.
What is 28 Days Haunted about?
So, the premise here is simple. Three teams of paranormal investigators are taken blindfolded to 3 separate locations and must spend 28 days there. The 28 days time limit is to help validate the claims of Ed and Lorraine Warren of The Conjuring fame, who stated that 28 days was the optimal amount of time needed to properly investigate hauntings. The teams are given no information about the place they are to stay in and must conduct an investigation to uncover the secrets of where they are. They are being monitored independently and have their own equipment too so that everything that occurs can be recorded.
It’s easy to lean into the idea that 28 Days Haunted is fake. The problem with this type of show is the way they are actually recorded and edited. If you take everything you see at face value, then you would have to agree that these haunted properties are genuinely haunted.
In all three locations, there are all kinds of paranormal activities happening. We hear all kinds of noises, bumps, and crashes, and there are even instances of objects moving on their own, including cabinet doors opening and things seemingly falling without being pushed.
On top of this, the team use devices such as “spirit boxes” that seem to provide “voices” for the spirits trapped in our realm. Coupled with some of the investigators claiming to have psychic powers, that enable them to hear and contact the dead, it would seem that at face value, the ghosts are real.
Is the Reality Horror series 28 Days Haunted fake?
However, I would argue that there is every opportunity for everything that happens in the six episodes to be faked or added in post-production. Let’s be honest, if you have spent the production fee on 6 episodes of a true-life haunting series, and nothing much happens, you have a dud on your hands. So, the temptation to add effects and sound in post must be incredibly tempting.
On several occasions, especially in the final episodes, the sound mix is definitely in favor of highlighting any crash or bang. We all know the magic of careful editing, and how much a piece of film can be doctored to change the original tone, so it must be the easiest job in the world to make footage scarier for an audience that has tuned in to be scared. It has to be noted that the investigators spend a lot of time with night vision cameras in allegedly haunted locations, so they are on high alert from the get-go. If they react to anything on camera, it is the easiest thing in the world for the editors to add a huge bang effect in there and make it seem as if they are reacting to that effect.
It’s an old trick, and if we accept that can happen, what else could they do? Pivotal points in the series include the cabinet doors opening on their own, one of the few actually paranormal occurrences that is seen physically by the viewers, but this could easily have been done with special effects or camera trickery.
The same can be said for anything that seems to fall of its own volition, so this evidence is not conclusive proof at all. Everything else that happens, including the psychics picking up on ghosts of the dead, and having strange dreams, can be put down to the professionals wanting to perform for the camera and having to deliver, and the locations chosen all seem to be well-known paranormal hot spots, so it would not be surprising for someone on the team to realize where they are and to regurgitate what they remember about the place.
Props that show up over the course of the series also don’t ring true. A copper pentagram found in the grounds of one of the locations is very suspicious, and luckily the team that find it had a metal detector on hand so it could be uncovered. A newspaper article about a decades-old murder is found hidden in the wall of a basement validating the investigators’ suspicions about a serial killer on the loose. I can’t believe nobody else found this before the investigators arrived.
On top of everything else, I will leave it up to you to watch the show and pay attention to some of the performances of the teams. Psychics either seem to not want to do the job they have been given or go over the top and end up in the hospital. Everything seems so staged, and perhaps for the sake of entertainment, it should be overlooked, but if that is the case, then yes, 28 Days Haunted looks fake.
Could 28 Days Haunted be real? If so, how?
This is divisive. If you take everything that you see on the screen as the honest truth, then yes, this show could be showing us real paranormal activity and showcasing psychics who have a link to the dead. It does require the viewer to question nothing about what they have seen and to accept the events that happen as completely true, but if you believe in the supernatural, then yes, this will appear real to you. There is no doubt that the locations chosen all have horrendous and horrific past events attached to them, so if there are going to be ghosts or evil spirits, then these are the most likely places you would find them and coupled with the 28-day cycle that The Warrens have documented as the most effective way of investigating these places, then it would be easy to see why people would want to believe in the events they witness in the show. Could 28 Days Haunted be real? Well, yes, but only if you want to believe, without question.
Have the reviews for 28 Days Haunted been good or bad?
A quick look online and it’s bad news for the show, as reviews have been generally poor. On IMDB, the show has 3.3 out of 10, and comments include “OMG, the cringiest show ever” and “Cheesy and fake to the highest degree.” On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a weak 32% audience score and comments that include “It is the most laughable attempt at a show I have ever seen” and “Very disappointed, it all seems so set up and contrived.” The review in The Guardian gives it 2 stars and calls the show occasionally “tasteless.” There are a couple of more positive reviews, but the general feeling is the show falls at every hurdle. This is a show that will really only be enjoyed by people who are already heavily invested in the supernatural and will not question what they are seeing or viewers who see the unintentional humor in the presentation.