As quoted by Aljazeera, Netflix has tapped into the “Hollywood of Middle East” by venturing into the making of its first ever Egyptian Series – Paranormal. Based on the popular horror book series by Ahmed Khaled Tawfik which was first released in the early 1990s, Paranormal revolves around the everyday life of a protagonist by the name of Dr. Refaat Ismail (Ahmed Amin) who doesn’t believe in ghosts but on the contrary, his entire life he was haunted by many.
From the branded box of Nefertiti cigarettes to the Gomhoreya newspaper, hotel and surrounding street signage, the minute details shown in the series represent the Egyptian culture back in the 1960’s vividly.
The story written by Tawfik itself is quite engaging and has been brought out well, considering its first-of-its kind. Paranormal Producer Mohamed Hefzy cites that the show had the privilege of many resources which were never before available to others in the country.
Doubting and testing horror and superstition with logic and science is the very basis of the series. Refaat (Amin) is a weird hematologist who refuses to admit his real encounters with spirits in his past and is an escapist. He fails to admit his love to Maggie (Razane Jammal), a girl he fell for in college. Refaat is followed by the ghost of Shiraz (Reem Abd El Kader) who unfolds mysteries in his single adult life. His denial of believing in the paranormal sheerly roots to his belief and practice in science.
There was a constant eerie mood across the series but it wouldn’t exactly frighten one. The ghosts are more like memories of the past, or friendly spirits. The rest were demons, and of course, mummies. How can one visualize the terrors of Egypt by missing out on mummies? In Paranormal, as well one gets to see pyramids and Pharaoh’s curses adding concrete relatable essence of Egyptian horror. But the Pharaoh was not exactly as the blockbuster ‘The Mummy’ franchise.
The depiction of demons doesn’t stop with the representation of the Egyptian Pagan culture. As the story proceeds the ghosts delve into Islam and Quran, being warded off, and also freed by Allah.
Moreover, matching the religious influences in Egypt, the show also includes Christianity. Watch the climax to relate the link.
All the ghosts in the story are sad and await redemption.
Coming to the part of adventure, each of the episodes are indeed adventurous. They range from scenes far in the dessert to Cairo, Libya, and rural Egypt. One can hardly overlook the costumes worn by Maggie (Razane Jammal). She is perfectly elegant and convincingly foreign as she plays the character. Her pant suit that she wears while they go into the dessert is the one that stands out, provided, she was playing a 60s’ woman in Egypt. Well of course, the other urbane women in the series were quite progressive looking and dressed as well.
Amin has had a history of playing comic roles in the past. The character of Refaat is entirely opposite to his earlier works. Yet Refaat is sarcastic about the paranormal and sarcasm has a tinge of humour which is exactly where he fits in.
Each and every character of the series played their part wonderfully. Yet one can definitely be drawn to the charms of the character, Louis.
The series has so far received 100% positive reviews from the audience. It is yet to see how long its viewed on the OTT.
Paranormal is now streaming on Netflix with English subtitles.