Sunday, November 8, 2009

Paranormal Activity (2009)

Hype and box office can do a lot for a movie. Look at the recent film "Paranormal Activity" for example. Made for next to nothing, but backed by a major studio and a brilliant marketing campaign, the film has gone on to rake in plenty of cash, and beat "Saw 6" when that movie debuted. That part actually isn't too surprising-I'd like to think most are tired of the same old maim and torture show that's essentially Hollywood saying "Well, we can't legally make a snuff movie, so this is the next best thing", as well as increasingly disappointing and all around bad sequels.

"Paranormal Activity" deals with a girl named Katie (Katie Featherstone), who seems to be haunted by a ghost or demon like entity. Her boyfriend Micah (Micah Sloat) is of course, skeptical about all of this supernatural hullabaloo (as would most of us) so he sets up a camera to capture anything odd. Being a horror flick, odd things do happen. A self professed psychic named Dr. Frederichs (Mark Fredrichs) believes this force to be something of a more demonic nature. Soon things get from bad to worst for our couple. Is their a demonic force within the house? Of course there is. Otherwise you wouldn't have yourself a movie.

Before I get into the goods, there are three notable flaws in the movie.

1.) Micah. He just isn't that interesting of a character, and Micah Sloat's performance ranges from decent to almost laughably bad-especially when he tries to seem angry.

2.) Dr. Frederichs. His character doesn't really seem to serve much of a purpose-as in we don't get enough of him. He just shows up twice. The first time is to let the audience know this is a demonic presence, and the second is basically say "This presence is too strong! I can't deal with this, and the demonologist won't be around for a while!" The second appearance is a poor attempt at plot advancement at best.

3.) For a skeptic, Micah sure isn't that bright. He decides to bring home an Ouija board, which is probably meant to show he doesn't take any of this seriously, but still screams "You fucking idiot" It all leads to a rather telegraphed and predictable scare moment involving the Ouija board being used by the demonic entity.

That out of the way, this is still a mostly effective little scare flick that beats the shit out of the likes of "Saw 6" and any PG-13 remake coming out these days. The film starts out with more subtle moments, such as creaking sounds and a door moving on it's own, until it leads to more eerie and all around scary moments such as the door slamming on Katie and Micah to Katie being dragged out of the bed by the invisible entity. The fact that you never really see this thing (with the exception of a shadow) is also great and reminiscent of "The Blair Witch Project" in that while never seen, you still get the sense that something is in the house. A real stroke of genius in particular is that the film has no end credits, making it all feel more real.

While it's an impressive outing, I can't say "Paranormal Activity" lives up to all of the hype that it's gone. See it with an open mind (and a packed audience) and you'll enjoy it.

Rating: 7.5/10

1 comment:

  1. I have always wanted to be a psychic. I want to charge people insane amounts of money for me to sit in their living room and fuel their fears. I'll gladly improv some faux historical structure to justify any strange happenings. Dr. F. was a genious. When Katie called him back he clearly had better things to do, so he just stepped in, told them it didn't want him there, and left to grab a beer with his friends in the neighborhood. Brilliant. Although, I like the idea of having a fake conversation with nothingness, and then tapping windows after I left the house..

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