Paranoia (Blu-ray Review)

ParanoiaParanoia is a film that came and went last summer that you probably blinked and missed it.  The film didn’t even place top 10 in the box office on its opening weekend (#13).  Its surprising too as the film sports a Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and a fresh young face from a wildly popular film franchise in Liam Hemsworth.  The quality of the film didn’t get any buffer from critics as it holds a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  So, is this film some lost gem?  Were the critics too harsh on it?  Or perhaps you’re looking to know “What the hell is Paranoia?”  Here at Why So Blu, we’ve got this all covered for you.

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An inventor for a corporation run by Nicholas Wyatt, Adam Cassidy and his friends are fired during a presentation of some new software.  Adam stands up to Wyatt giving him an insubordinate rundown of what he thinks of his company.  That night, Adam takes him and his now unemployed team out for a big night out on Wyatt’s dime.  When he discovers this, Wyatt coaxes Adam into becoming a corporate spy with the threat of charging him with fraud.  Adam agrees and is sent in to steal a secret from Wyatt’s old mentor, Jock Goddard.

I wish I could tell you maybe the critics were harsh on this one and that its actually okay.  Instead I’m wondering who the 4% on Rotten Tomatoes with a positive rating for it are.  Hightlights Magazine?  Hemsworth Digest?  I found myself trying really hard to seeing anything positive here.  It’s not a horribly crafted film by any means.  Its just a route, boring, uninteresting and stale one.  And that’s probably the harder thing to swallow.  A laughably bad production is entertaining.  But one that just somehow exists, plays everything safe, isn’t very original and takes no chances is just lame and has me checking the time and tempted to play with my iPhone while it’s on.

Let me try to point out some positives.  The casting of 3 older, veteran actors was a very very good thing for this film.  He’s not in much, but not enough people put Richard Dreyfuss in movies anymore.  It sucks that when he does, its something like this, but I was excited to see him.  Harrison Ford gives a pretty intense and menacing performance.  The script and dialogue might be pretty bad and generic, but the man is able to elevate and get me to buy into his bits.  The same can be said for Gary Oldman, who its rarely hard to him personally giving a bad performance.

All the good will provided by these guys is done away quickly with our lead actor, Liam Hemsworth.  This guy should probably stick to magazine or billboard ads where he doesn’t have to talk.  There’s a reason he’s Gale and not Peeta in The Hunger Games franchise.  Gale isn’t around and doesn’t have to pull any weight when he his on screen.  There’s no conviction, no suspension of belief from this guy.  Nothing.  I think as an actor, he’s probably passable enough for side characters in things, but as a lead he’s more vanilla than vanilla.  There are barely any frames without him in this movie and when its up to him to sell it and you’ve got a script full of bad dialogue, you’re in for a lot of trouble.

The rest of the cast is pretty hit and miss.  I’m a big Amber Heard fan, so there’s some big bias there.  Julian MacMahon shows up and he’s his usually (outside of Nip/Tuck) bad self.   Josh Holloway is totally underutilized here.  The guy has a great presence and is a fun actor, so why not use him?  Trying his best to out-terrible Liam Hemsworth is Lucas Til.  This guy is AWFUL.  The guy is a total jock turned actor and totally botches just about every moment he’s in.  He was ok in X-Men: First Class, but this movie showed that if he ever gets the lead part in a movie to avoid it at all costs.  So really, the movie has a weird balance of good actors and poor ones.

Paranoia is a stale movie that finds no reason to recommend it to anyone.  It has no real reason to exist.  I’m sure with some more time and thought there could have been a better thriller to tell here.  However, there’s no innovative talent behind the camera to make this thing rise about and the script, as I’ve mentioned, is bad.  The script is full of cliché ridden dialogue tit for tat.  Also it follows many tired contrivances and has you able to see right through this thing the whole way.  So, I wish this could have been some little gem, but it’s exactly as bad, forgettable, lame as you have or haven’t heard.

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While every inch of the 2:35.1 frame from the 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoding is full of a bad movie, at least it looks really good.  The image excels in its sharpness.  Everything is well defined.  Detail is really high and the skin tones are consistent and well texture.  It’s a really great looking presentation.  Too bad, its really not worth seeing for yourself as to how good it looks.

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There’s only track provided here and it’s a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track.  It’s a solid track that does everything it should do well.  The movie doesn’t call for a lot of action or loud sound effects.  The score, while not overbearing, is nice and bold sounding.  Dialogue is clear and gets a lot of the lower deep tones well represented.  Its nothing spectacular but it does the trick.

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The release comes with a DVD and Digital Copy of the film.

Deleted Scenes

  • Cubicle Row (HD, 1:01)
  • Adam’s Rehired (HD, :45)
  • Adam’s Got A New Job (HD, 1:09)
  • Privacy (HD, 2:00)

Privacy Is Dead (HD, 6:00) – An EPK featurette with the cast and crew discussing the lack of privacy due to technological advances in our society.

The Paranoia Begins (HD, 5:50) – Another EPK covering the processes of taking the book which the film was based and modernizing it and scripting it to bring to the screen.

The Players (HD, 5:23) – A third EPK, the usual actors discussing the characters they play and patting the backs of the other performers in the film.  You know what I’m talking about.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:24)

Sneak Peek – Trailers for Runner Runner, Graceland Season 1, The Americans Season 1

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Even with a great presentation, I can’t recommend anyone ever seeing this film.  It’s the one thing worse than bad; it’s boring.  Liam Hemsworth proves a poor, uncharismatic lead surrounded by players constantly upstaging him.  This weekend I had the displeasure of watching two movies from this year that were rated at 3% and 4% respectively on the Tomato-meter.  I’m sad to report that, for me, both very much lived up to that stature.  Keep as you’ve been doing so far, and stay clear of Paranoia.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

5 Responses to “Paranoia (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    What was the other film you watched?
    How can a film with Harrison Ford with a shaved head possibly be bad? I thought he makes everything better?

  2. Gerard Iribe


  3. Brandon Peters

    Apparently he does. He, Oldman, Dreyfuss and Heard’s good looks saved this thing from a 1/2 star rating.

    The other film I watched was Getaway. I’m interested in your review on it, because I’m at a loss to see what you loved about it.

  4. Brian White

    Your wish is my command sir: http://whysoblu.com/getaway-blu-ray-review/

  5. Sean Ferguson

    Harrison Ford does make everything he is in better!