October 31, 2009
Review - " Paranormal Activity " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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on DVD. An instant fan, Spielberg suggested the filmmakers remake the story with a bigger budget. Subsequent test
screenings convinced Paramount to release the original movie with just a few tweaks (including a new ending). Viral
marketing helped take "Paranormal" from a late-September midnight-showings-only trial run in college towns to last
weekend's number one at more than $22 million box office gross, making more than $80 million to date.
Comparisons to "The Blair Witch Project" are inevitable—from the viral marketing, to the mockumentary style (complete with
improvised performances by slightly amateurish actors), to the head spinning box office success. Consider that a built-in
recommendation test. Loved "Blair Witch"? You'll want to see this. Hated "Blair Witch"? It's probably wise to steer clear. Of
course, it's important to note that more actually happens in "Paranormal Activity," and you will see supernatural action (sort
of). The performances also top "Blair's" admittedly low bar, though not by much.
Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston star as, well, Micah and Katie, an upwardly mobile couple who have begun to experience
some incredibly strange phenomena within the cozy confines of their quaint suburban home. In order to properly assess and
understand these nightly encounters with otherworldly forces, Micah decides to document their lives using a handy — and
expensive - digital video camera. As the nights wear on and their collective sanity begins to crumble, the pair turn to the help
of a psychic, who quickly concludes that something very evil and very, very angry has decided to focus all its energy on
disrupting the couple’s tranquil existence. What‘s more, there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop it from completely destroying
everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve. Featherston and Sloat's natural chemistry gives them credibility as a couple.
But while they're solid at playing relaxed, they're less impressive at playing scared. That's a pretty major problem in a horror
Simply put, “Paranormal Activity” just isn’t
scary. A little eerie, perhaps, but definitely not
scary. It’s kind of like the television series
“Ghost Hunters” without the remote possibility
that these supposed supernatural events are,
in fact, the real deal. Take reality out of the
equation and all you’ve got are unintelligible
demonic mumblings, flaming Ouija boards, and
piles of talcum powder all over your glossy
hardwood floor. Maybe I’m desensitized to this
sort of straightforward material, or, possibly,
disembodied footsteps and slamming doors
don‘t frighten me the way they frighten the
general movie-going public. Neither does time
lapse photography, for that matter.
The entire movie consists of one house, two occupants, and an extremely limited number of side characters. Despite the
overall lack of goosebumps generated during my screening of the film, director Oren Peli has done a remarkable job of
turning his miniscule budget into something that looks and sounds much more expensive than it actually is. It’s a shame,
then, that most of the scheduled scares are weak and unimpressive - in fact many in the audience actually laughed at the
parts that were supposed to be scary.
After watching the film for half an hour, you realise that the scares just aren't gonna come. I guess that they were hoping
"what you don't see is scarier" and that might've worked back in the 70s but these days most horror film buffs need to see
something to scare them....your film had better be the best film ever to actually build anticipation to a scare without ACTUAL
scares. It's just implied scares....which is kind of lame. The last 15 minutes of the film are quite interesting, with some cool
effects, but I wish that there could've been this level of intensity leading in rather than a slow build. The bottom line is that if
you're not easily drawn in and willing to try to believe, it'll be crap....kind of like the Blair Witch Project! As the box office
numbers and endless positive word-of-mouth for “Paranormal Activity” contradict everything I’ve outlined here, perhaps I’m
the abnormality, boldly declaring the film to be completely unaffecting while others shriek and scream in crowded movie
theaters across the globe. “Paranormal Activity” might be the hottest horror ticket in town at the moment, but it takes a lot
more than the generic gimmicks utilized here to make my skin crawl these days. A valiant effort that simply cannot sustain the
My verdict is : Don't see this movie. It's not worth the money. But if you're a huge horror fans and your expectations are
suitably low, then try out this 97-minute implied-horror movie. This film really needed a bigger budget for more
convincing/worrying Paranormal Activity.
Directed by: Oren Peli
Starring Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs
The buzz surrounding writer/director Oren Peli’s popular 2007 “found footage”
horror outing “Paranormal Activity,” has been, in a word, astronomical. And OK, I
finally fell for the hype and went to see this so called horror film on Halloween
evening. It's making a ton of money and a couple million people can't be wrong can
they? Ummmm, I hate to break it to you but .... yes they can.
Suposedly compiled from the recovered home movies of San Diego couple Katie
(Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat). They recorded their experiences with
a ghostly demon who terrorized them in their sleep. Katie had been plagued by the
demon for pretty much her whole life, but Micah thought he could put an end to it.
First, by setting a camera to film what happened when they snoozed and then by
taunting the demon to show itself. Sound like a bad idea? Yeah, it was.
This is one of those amazing Cinderella stories of indie film. "Paranormal" was made
for $15,000 and premiered at the 2007 Los Angeles Screamfest Horror Film
Festival. It was then rejected by Sundance, but accepted by the smaller scale
Slamdance -where it caused a minor stir in 2008. Yet the movie languished without
a distributor until executives at DreamWorks convinced Steven Spielberg to watch it
garnered and "R" rating
which completely baffles me.
There is absolutely zero
nudity, zero violence, zero
blood and guts. And the one
'sex scene' is missing
because Katie tells her
boyfriend to turn off the
camera as she is too shy to
be filmed while doing it. So
you'll (gladly) have to walk
out of this one, which is too
bad since Katie has HUGE
...... tracks of land.
A little gratuitous nudity
might have saved this