Petaluma Festival (PIFF) Review: Paranoia Park

Petaluma-International-Film-Festival APoor Anna. She’s having a really shitty day. Her ex won’t take their daughter for the weekend, which results in her daughter giving attitude. Fortunately, daughter can vent to a friend on Facebook. Unfortunately, Facebook friend is revealed to be some creepy guy in an apartment, watching a video of a woman screaming so he can record the audio. KIDS THESE DAYS!




After an unsuccessful stroll in the park, Anna’s daughter yells and scampers away, leaving poor Anna to be hilariously propositioned by a man on a bench, who claims he lives “just over there” and promises she’ll be back in 10 minutes. You’ll imagine how shocking it was that she turned down such a charmer.

Moments after the man walks away, Anna gets a phone call, informing that her daughter has been kidnapped, placed in an area where she only has one hour of oxygen. In order to save her, Anna must do everything the man instructs, and if she speaks with someone else, doesn’t obey the orders, or hangs up, the daughter dies.

Having the man on the phone constantly refer to the situation as a “game” only emphasize the fact that “Paranoia Park” is a blatant “Saw” rip-off. Worse, the levels that Anna has to play aren’t that thrilling. In fact, they’re downright stale. She must slap the man who hit on her earlier, humiliating him. Then she’s ordered to get rid of a photographer who’s trying to help. Then she must laugh so people believe she’s crazy. She’s told to take her clothes off, then not to. Geez, I’m on the edge of my seat.

Spoiler territory ahead. Because we only see one other male prior to the phone call, we have a pretty good idea who it is. In fact, we even see the man prior to the park, in his home speaking with the daughter on Facebook. There’s an attempt to mask his identity with a dark room, but it’s no use. CLEARLY, it’s the same individual, begging the questions as to the director’s intentions. Was this even supposed to be a mystery?

It’s a premise that’s filled with potential, yet it lacks a single thrilling moment. If that weren’t enough, there’s an epilogue which is utterly inane, only serving to contribute more anger towards the experience of watching “Paranoia Park.”


I never stand in front of the elevator doors when they open. All because of the movie The Departed.

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