The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

The long wait between new updates for Marble Hornets left me flailing about a few Sundays ago, scouring Youtube for a Slender Man fix (but not yet willing to commit to one of the other Slender Man series, because the last thing I needed was another thing to obsess over and eat up all my time). And somehow I landed on The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, which A) has nothing to do with Slender Man and B) instantly became a new thing to obsess over and eat up all my time.

Hi there, irony! Won’t you have a seat?

Something always happens with me this time of year. We get into the dog days of summer, and the weather is nasty hot, and I start yearning for fall like whoa. And then I start craving good ghost stories, because they put me in mind of Halloween and my favorite month of the year. So it’s no wonder that when I stumbled onto this little gem of a vlog about a teenage girl and her mom and the scary, paranormal goings-on in their house, it really hit the spot, and suddenly I couldn’t get enough.

The series is broken up into “seasons,” each with its own story arc. Like any show, some seasons are better than others, but they’re all pretty entertaining.  The current season (which I believe is the sixth or seventh) seems to be struggling a little to find its way, especially in the wake of a rather disappointing end to the prior season’s plot line, which was building to a pretty cool climax that would have taken the show into a really interesting direction before it suddenly got dropped in rather anti-climactic fashion. I can only guess that the direction they were headed in would have outstripped their budget and resources, so they had to re-think a few things. But regardless, Sunshine Girl remains entertaining, primarily because at it’s core it’s about the mother-daughter relationship and how they stick together to weather all the weirdness in their lives; and besides, the sometimes erratic storytelling fits better with the conceit that this is a reality vlog about real people experiencing real hauntings.

But it is, in fact, a work of fiction, despite the many, many YouTube commenters who insist it’s all real and will cut you if you dare to suggest otherwise. The brainchild of Coat Tale Productions, they set out to make Sunshine Girl a sort of Gilmore Girls meets Paranormal Activity, and I think they’ve succeeded quite nicely. I think part of what makes it work so well is it’s rather unique nature as a blend of fiction and reality. The hauntings and situations are made up and plotted out in advance and the characters are played by actors, but the dialogue is entirely unscripted; the mother and daughter are such in real life and are basically playing themselves, so all that chemistry between them is real.

So is it scary?  Sometimes. I’d say not as deeply unsettling as Marble Hornets, but there are some genuinely creepy moments that might come back to haunt you when you’re lying in the dark. Otherwise, it’s good, clean fun, and its star, the bubbly Sunshine Girl, is about as engaging and charming a heroine as you’re likely to find.

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