RKS 2023 Hot Docs Films: “It’s Coming”: Reality Television?

Ashley lives in an old Brooklyn New York apartment with her children. Ashley claims to have been haunted since the age of 11 in the same apartament. Javier her young son has progressed (or regressed) to the point he is playing with a spirit he calls Kitty. He was terrified initially with Kitty who is surrounded by blackness. Her daughter also has numerous visits from a spirit in the world beyond. There are additional spirits about but despite several attempts to photograph these spirits or the objects that they move Ashley can’t catch them “in action”. Even Ashley is becoming accustomed to these unwanted strangers. I found it rather strange Ashley isn’t overly keen to vanquish the intruders lest she lose her powers. Got to keep the franchise going?

A medium is brought into Ashley’s apartment with ghost imaging software on her phone. As she goes from room to room she begins to feel a chill and the atmosphere is suffocating. She warns that redecorating the ageing apartment may shake loose or activate the spirits. The medium summons a child who said it is “coming” and a voice claims to be “watching you”. The medium fails to rid the apartment of the unwanted.

Christian ghost busters arrive with exorcism experience initially gained at their ministry in Africa claiming the house is infested, oppressed and possessed apparently “very rare”. The ghost busters detect energy sources on their ghost recognition camera, say a prayer and throw Holy Water about in true exorcist fashion then beat a hasty retreat. They warned Ashley and Javier about communicating with these spirits as this recognizes and legitimizes them. The spirits, the Christian ghost busters say, also like to garner your sympathy using children’s voices. Clever devils! The Christian exorcism is but a partial success as Ashley still sees them but ignores the spirits. Thank goodness Ashley still can exercise “her power” and Kitty still visits Javier who has been instructed by the Christian exorcists not to engage with it.

In terms of bone chilling terror it isn’t there in this slow moving documentary. It strikes me as more of a reality TV episode and that is worrisome as far as I can see it there is little reality in reality television these days.

There is a spirit world out there and I can attest to it so I am not a naysayer. This is a pedantic documentary punctuated by a few creepy messages from the world beyond. I am just a bit uneasy about its veracity but that of course is a matter of opinion and pardon me for the “90 Day Fiancé” syndrome.

You can see the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3NVH0-szR0

“It’s Coming” plays Toronto Hot Docs Festival (in cinema only) on 29 April and 3 May. This 95-minute US documentary is directed by Shannon Alexander.

RKS 2023 Hot Docs Films Rating 71/100.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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