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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY REVIEW (spoiler alert)


(spoiler alert: includes discussion of what happens at the end of the movie along with details of other events in the movie)

So, out of no where comes this low budget movie that no one knows about. Then little by little, there was more conversation about this movie. It was marketed not only on TV, but by having to vote to get the movie shown in your city. It kept spreading like a virus and now it has become more like an event than a movie. Everyone has to see it to basically test their manhood (or woman hood). So the question is: is the movie as scary as it is portrayed to be?
I think part of the answer to this is if you believe in ghosts and that these kinds of things can happen. If you believe there are ghosts out there that can do what was done in the movie, then yea, you are probably going to be scared. Another reason so many people seem to be scared by this movie is that a lot of young people are seeing it (particular girls). These are the exact people the movie makers want seeing this movie. They know that young girls are likely to be scared by this movie. And young boys, yes you! Do not think I forgot about you! You are scared too, but you just refuse to show it. 
So how did they try to scare you? Lets take a look at the movie. It was very simple, which I like. Sometimes simple ideas make for good movies too. Basically, Katie and her boyfriend Micah have recently moved in with each, and have been hearing weird things in the house. Micah decides to buy a video camera to film what was going on at night while they were sleeping (the camera was the point of view you saw the whole movie from). Katie was not exactly happy about this and repeated her dislike for the camera through out the movie. The movie covers a little more then a month's time as the dates and time are shown at the bottom of the screen each night when they go to sleep.
The first night of scares started off simple. Just some noise downstairs, but the weird thing for them was that her keys were in the middle of the floor. After that, Katie decided to have a psychic come to the house. The psychic said there was definitely something in the house. Micah does not believe him, and was very skeptical of the ghost the entire movie, even after the evidence of a ghost got more obvious. Katie told the psychic that she thought something had been following her since she was 8 years old. This was the explanation for why the ghost was there, and why they just did not move (you know you were thinking why  don't they just move to a new house). The psychic scared Katie (and audience) more by saying that it was not just a ghost, but a demon. 
The scares continued as they showed nights of them sleeping and the camera would record the sound of footsteps in the hallway and stairs, and thuds downstairs. They would wake up and Micah would take the camera with him to investigate. As mentioned, he did not really believe in the ghost, so he taunted the ghost. He asked the ghost what it wanted, why was it there, and at one point even what was its favorite color (yes they managed to squeeze a little comedy in here too). One of the things that I thought was a little freaky was that there were a couple of times when Katie would wake up, get out of bed, and stand still next to the bed staring at Micah. The time lapse would speed up showing that she would be just be standing there for 2-3 hours. 
So if a ghost was in your house, what is the one thing you might be tempted to do, but probably would not do (besides moving away)? Someone get me a Ouija Board! I could tell some people in the theatre were like "Hell no, bad idea!" Katie thought so too. Micah wanted to get one to talk to the ghost, but Katie made him promise not to get one (consider this promise broken). He set one up at a table in the living room, which pissed Katie off. They were suppose to go out that night, so she made him leave it there as they left the house. He left the camera on so shortly after leaving you see some weird things happen (not going tell you everything in detail just assume what happened). 
The tension grew as Micah continued on his quest to prove to himself that he could expose the ghost and get rid of it (bad idea right). He decides to spread some baby powder out in the hall, so that he could see if there was anything really walking around the halls. So of course, you see foot prints start to appear and walk right up to the bed. They follow the steps to a hallway closet, where they see that a hatch in the ceiling had been opened. Again, Mr. Brave decided he had to go up there, and investigate. He comes down with a picture of Katie from her old house that burned down. She was shocked, and did not know how it was possible that picture existed. To me, this was where the movie started to turn from what felt like real events happening to a real Hollywood movie. I can take the noises, foot prints, and even the Ouija Board, but now they were trying to put a real story behind this movie. Of course, it is a movie so there needs to be a story going on, but as the story behind everything grew, the scariness of the movie shrank for me. I remembering thinking, "so how are they going to end this movie?" *(this may be a good point to stop reading if you don't want to know how the movie ends)*
My answer got clearer after they heard a sound upstairs, went to check it out, and found that the glass on a picture of them in the hallway had shattered. The picture also showed what appeared to be a scratch down Micah's face. Oh yea, ending becoming obvious now. Time to leave your girlfriend pal. No, you love her and want to stay to piss the ghost off some more, okay. Katie was more scared now than ever and calls the psychic back. This time, the psychic will not even go further in the house than the front door, and said the ghost does not want him there (so he leaves, hint Micah). 
The movie was about how to scare you, so lets go back to that. Again, while they are sleeping, you hear footsteps that walk up to the bed. Threes a crowd, especially in bed! The ghost appeared to get under the covers next to Katie. Oh yea, you are freaked out now! I give them credit for that move. The visual of that happening to me definitely is freaky. But then they go and ruin it by getting back into the explanation of why this was all happening. Micah did some research on the computer and found a woman in the 60's that went through the same things Katie was going through. BINGO, there was talk about how they did an exorcism on her. It was clear to me how this was ending now. This was very disappointing to me because I really thought they should have just stuck to the scaring. I am sure they could have found a way to do this movie without taking this route. 
Speaking of sticking to the scaring, the beginning of the end started that night when Katie was pulled out bed and dragged down the hall. Micah jumped out of bed and chased after them (yes them). After some commotion, which you could not see because the camera was still on the tripod in the room, they make it back to the bedroom. The next day, Katie appeared to have been bitten by something (the ghost bites?). Later, Micah was looking for her only to find her on the floor bleeding and holding a cross. You wanted them to just leave the house right? Well, it seemed like they were finally going to do this, but then Katie changed her mind and wanted to stay. Again, going Hollywood as Micah happened to leave the camera shooting her as he walked away, and she gave an evil smile at the camera. While this may have been scaring some people, this was just annoying me. What started off so good, was now being ruined. 
Finally the end has come. Their last night asleep together. In the middle of the night, she woke up and again just stood by the bed. Then the bed sheets slowly slide off of Micah, but he was still asleep. After about 2 hours go by, she walks downstairs in a trance, and then screams. He jumped out of bed, and ran downstairs without the camera. He apparently could not find her at first, and then you hear him say, "what the fuck?" The house then went to silence for a few seconds, and then you hear footsteps coming up the stairs. All the sudden, Micah came flying at the camera, and then fell dead on the floor. Katie walked slowly into the room with blood covering her, and went over to the body. She then got into a weird crawling position to check out the body before she smiled, and then snarled at the camera as the movie ends. Like I said, Hollywood ending. It was just to fake to me. I am sure it scared some people, but it just annoyed me. Did she really have to snarl at the camera? 
So back to the question at hand, did the movie scare you? There were plenty of things that they tried to scare you with that I liked. The powder in the hall, the bed sheets moving to appear the ghost got in bed, and her getting pulled out of the bed and down the hall. What was really working for the movie was how Micah was filming it the entire time. That point of view made those scary scenes even more scary as you could visualize that happening to you. Then they had to go all Hollywood and come up with an exorcism to kill him and end the movie. Couldn't the movie just keep scaring us, and then maybe just have the ghost kill them or something. That really took away from reality of the situation for me.
Like many people, I compared this movie to "The Blair Witch Project". Both movies were low budget, and made money by getting people to come see what was so scary about the movie. Both movies were shoot as if they were in real time with a camera, but one movie was about a ghost and the other a witch, and in different settings. While some people just got motion sickness from all of the camera movement in "The Blair Witch Project", I have to say Blair Witch scared me more. Again, it basically comes down to the end of both movies. The sudden end to Blair Witch really got to me. The tension was high, crazy things were happening, and then bang, it was all over. With Paranormal Activity, it was just too set up for me. Yes, there was some tension, but I saw it coming, so it was not that shocking. It was too obvious that Micah was going to get killed, especially after they revealed that Katie was possessed. Maybe, if they withheld the fact that she was possessed, and then all of the sudden killed him, then it may have shocked me more. The ending was just too staged for a movie that portrayed itself as if it were shot in real time.
So, should you go out with the rest of your friends and test your manhood (womanhood) by seeing this movie? I say, why not! There are plenty of things in this movie that may scare you. If you do not think this movie will scare you, just visualize these things happening to you while you sleep, and that should help freak you out. It may sound as if I did not like the movie, but I did. I just could have done without the Hollywood ending.  After seeing it, break out a copy of "The Blair Witch Project", if you have not seen it, and see which movie really scares you more. The idea was simple, the marketing for the movie was great, and it did have lots of scares so I give this movie 2.5 pools of blood. 

HorrO 
 

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