Review: The Ups and Downs of the Top-Trending ‘Paranormal’

Hands down the most anticipated series of 2020 launched on Netflix this past Thursday, and it’s been the only talk in town ever since. “Paranormal” has been hyped for all the right seasons, not only because it’s the first Egyptian Netflix Original, but also because it follows the story of one of the most popular novel-series that influenced the lives of an entire generation in Egypt.

Like every other dedicated binge-watcher, I spent the weekend watching the entire series to enjoy the full experience without getting any spoilers. The expectations were high because of the unstoppable hype train and because the trailer looked so well made. Director Amr Salama raised the bar of expectations even higher when he released his recommended guidelines on how to watch the series! After finishing the series, here’s our honest, raw, spoiler-free review of “Paranormal”.

If you haven’t watched the series yet, it follows the story of Dr. Refaat Ismail, who’s looped in a series of supernatural events, trying to unravel the mysteries of each unique and unusual case. Throughout the fast-paced six-episode show, each episode has a story or a small arc on its own, while they’re all somehow connected with a deeper story.

From the beginning of the very first episode till the credits of the finale, it’s safe to say that the series doesn’t have one dull or boring moment. Although it’s super dramatic and sad at some points (some might say it’s much more dramatic than the books), the sarcastic tone of Dr. Refaat makes sure to keep things fun.

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Speaking of Dr. Refaat, casting Ahmed Amin as the protagonist could be one of the smartest decisions taken during the making of the series. Although it seemed like a risk at first, as Ahmed Amin is a comedian and wasn’t tested in a dramatic role, alongside the very well written and executed series, he totally aced the performance. He succeeded in giving us laughs, smiles, goosebumps, chills, tears, and a wide array of emotions through his performance.

The entire cast was on point, whether it’s Maggie, Howaida, or of course his sister Ra’eefa. But one of the downsides of the casting was some of the children. Although the young girl who played Shiraz was, by all means, iconic, the rest of the scenes of the children weren’t as expected, they were at most points just reciting the script. It was very nice as well to see some of the fan-favorite stars appearing as guests in most of the episodes, like Ahmed Dash, Sherif El Desouky, and more.

Even though the trailer gave people the vibe that the series will be westernized or influenced by western drama, one of my favorite things about the series is that it was as local as it gets! Everything about the series was very local and relatable for people who grew up in Egypt. It’s a great feeling to see the myths and legends that we’ve grown up listening to come to life.

The soundtrack is also one of the best things about the show. It’ll get you into this uncomfortable feeling and get you ready to explore all these thrilling and supernatural events with Refaat. It’ll also give you the chills when something dramatic or romantic happens, like the death of one of the characters, or when Refaat talks about his feelings towards Maggie.

A lot of people complained about the graphics and special effects, and indeed they weren’t on par if you’ll compare the series to other international projects, especially that this comparison is always made given that it’s a Netflix production or that it’s now on IMDB’s top 250 list of the best-rated TV Series of all time!

You can see that “Paranormal” is going to reshape the industry on a local and regional level. It’ll give more opportunities for local stories to come to life and will get producers more interested in authentic storytelling. People can’t wait for a second season, and neither can we! With the unparalleled success and the numbers of the first season, we’re not worried.

WE SAID THIS: Check out our one-on-one with Paranormal’s director, Amr Salama!