Sunday, October 11, 2009
Oh, The Horror! #34: Paranormal Activity
Most over-hyped film in recent years or does it live up to it? Honestly you'll have to see for yourself, but for me personally I'm definitely in the middle. Now not to say I didn't enjoy it, I enjoyed the hell out of it. But when I hear people deem this as the scariest movie made in decades, I have to stop and ponder... and it is rather hard to think of a truly terrifying great movie recently, all I could think about are Drag Me To Hell and Coraline (not really terrifying, but put yourself in Coraline's shoes and view it as a lil' kid, you'll piss your pants!). But yes, this film is a mockumendary directed by Oren Peli starring Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat as a couple who decides to video document strange occurrence in their house. We are presented through this story through the video documents taken by the characters.
We begin the movie with Micah testing out his new video camera then meet his girlfriend of three years, Katie, as we watch them all lovey-dovey on a normal day. As to why Micah has the camera, Katie reveals to us a little later that she's been haunted by a strange entity since childhood. One day while asleep with her sister, she noticed a big black mass standing at the foot of her bed. A few days later her home burned down. A few years later the same entity haunted her and and this time it was happening again now that she was happy with her new wise-cracking boyfriend. The characters are fairly likable which is a plus to have when you make a horror movie, but Micah is definitely the character that gets you irritated watching the movie as he's warned against certain things such as antagonizing the entity and thus making things worse than it could have been. Note to everyone: DO NOT MESS WITH OUIJA BOARDS!
So yes, the movie documents about two weeks of strange occurrences that includes load banging sounds and creaking doors and lights flickering. Each night is a lil' more and a lil' more and tension grows as you're not sure what to expect next despite quite a few scenes being fairly predictable. The slowness and gradual build-up really grasps you until things really start unfolding finally. The director did a wonderful job growing suspense and using time and quietness to his advantage. It's really refreshing to see how a low-budget movie done in seven days can get you uneasy with hardly much special effects. I also see this as a way of getting into "horror fans" heads who only believe that a good horror movie should be rated R with a ton of gore and tits. If this movie had eliminated all the cursing, it could have definitely been a PG-13 movie and still frighten the viewers it's been frightening. And speaking of, I enjoyed hearing girls scream their asses off and panic through the movie. Now some scenes I felt weren't too strong to fully get me to jump or be fearful, but I did have a hell of a good time watching this film. I felt it was well made and may not be a top favorite of mine, but it's good money spent and good to watch with some buddies. Hell, bring your girl friend. I shoulda done that. Heh... there's always next week or so... But yes, in the end I could have done without the final second or two of the movie as I felt it was a tad cliche but a way of Peli having some fun. So go have some fun with Peli and others and allow yourself to enjoy this good horror film. Don't put too much thought about if this will live up to the hype. Just go see it.
But I do have to ask, though... people really threw up watching this movie?