Monday, November 23, 2009

So I FINALLY saw Paranormal Activity

...and I do believe I will never sleep again.

No fooling.

An old friend of mine texted me yesterday morning asking if I'd like to catch a showing of Paranormal Activity that night. I was really interested in the film after I saw the commercial for it on TV so I was up for it. Besides, its hard for me to actually see movies like this in the theater simply because my beloved husband, creep though be may be, refuses to watch movies about ghosts and spirits that look even remotely scary. Its his preference. I don't bug him about it since I have an aversion to watching documentaries on how one puts together an AK-47 or the history of cheese. Luckily our friend has my back in the world of haunting movies.

I was pretty skeptical going into it too. usually when a film gets hyped so much as "The scariest movie of the year!" or "Not since The Exorcist!" or what have you I snort and think "Yeah, right." Well this time I will have to agree with the reviewers. This movie is a pitch perfect example on how to build tension and terror.

In a nutshell, Paranormal Activity centers around a couple in San Diego who video tape the strange happenings in their house. And as the nights go on things get worse and worse and worse. Terror ensues. That's really all I want to mention about the plot because I found going into the film spoiler free makes the journey through the film all the better.

...but I will bring up some spoilers at the end of this.

I remember hearing a documentary on horror films defining the difference between horror and terror. Horror is the aftermath of something bad. Terror is the waiting for it. This movie is not a horror film. It is a terror film. The approach is simple and yes we have seen this all before. But its less about the subject matter and more about the execution that makes Paranormal Activity as frightening as it is. The film effects are simple. Noises here, movement there, and hints of very bad things along the way. That's really all you need for your imagination to fill in the rest. The film makers slowly gave you teaspoons of information as the film goes on. Things that you'd probably not think much of at first. But that information sits in the back of your mind and while the film unravels, that information comes back to haunt pun intended.

I also loved how our two lead characters, Katie and Micah looked like ordinary folk. neither of them were stick skinny, or super buff or hyper good looking. They both looked like someone you would bump into at the supermarket. For me, that normalcy took the protective fourth wall away and made the film feel real.

And at this moment that is all I can say about the movie without giving away any spoilers. I will discuss spoilers below because I have the undying need to do so! But if you have not seen Paranormal Activity yet I highly recommend going into it spoiler free.

So wait for the spoilers if you've seen the movie....

Until then enjoy this picture of zombies in a shopping mall.




All set now?

Okie Dokie then.

Things I noticed and loved about Paranormal Activity was how the film set you up for a pattern. you got you back ground information and character development in the day time shots, then you have your terror in the evening shots in the bedroom. Every time that camera was on the tripod and you saw that time counter in the corner you knew something bad was going to happen. When that pattern was broken, you knew the haunting/possession was getting worse.

I have to give a lot of credit to the actors (both who used their real names in this movie). Katie Featherson's wide eyed expressions and her bone chilling scream were amazing. Not to mention her motionless hovering over the bed and those devilish grins she'd give the camera when she became fully possessed by the demon sent chills down my back. I also have to say Micah Sloat did an excellent job coming across as the douchiest boyfriend ever.

I noticed people complaining that Micah was too much of a douche. But without him this film wouldn't have worked. This movie isn't just about a wacky demon coming to get'cha. This movie is about a very flawed relationship between a controlling man and a codependent woman. And you begin to see the cracks in their "perfect" relationship as the possession gets worse.

Micah drove the bus in this relationship. He wants to so desperately to be in control that he ultimately puts himself and Katie in danger all for the sake of his stubbornness. Yes Micah did everything wrong in this situation.Check Spelling He mocked, threatened, and tried to communicate with the demon despite everyone who told him not to. Why? Because he refused to give up control of the situation. In Micah's mind, he was right and not even the threat of losing his girlfriend could detour that. Did I want to beat him? Yes. If I was in that relationship I probably would have punched Micah in the face before seeking the nearest priest after the first door slam. But I am a different woman from Katie. Katie was so very codependent on Micah that she just couldn't muster up the courage to either leave or seek help on her own. They hinted at it in the beginning with how uncomfortable she was with the camera but grinning and bearing it because its what Micah wanted. Then it becomes the most obvious when, despite her anger with him for unapologetically bringing a Ouija board into the house, she still needs to curl up with him in bed. It made you want to shake her and it made the idea of the film progress in a believable manner without asking the age old question "why don't you get out and get help!?".

I'd say if there was one major flaw in the film, it would have to be the very quick flash of CGI at the end. While it didn't ruin the movie, I felt it wasn't necessary at all to make the movie any more scary. I would have preferred it if it went to black on Katie smiling at the screen as she hovered over Micah's body. But that is just a minor complaint. The movie was a fantastic nerve wracking watch that I am dying to see again.

I will definitely be picking this one up on DVD.


Anonymous said...

I saw the whole movie. Beth saw less than half as she was hiding under my arm when she wasn't looking at the screen. And that night, I woke up at 3am with her in bed next to me because she "heard a noise."

Now that is a scary movie! :D

Cins said...

*LOL!* THAT is scary.;)
I'll admit though, I had trouble sleeping that night. My cat jumped on the bed and curled up on my foot and I shot up thinking "DEMONS! DEMONS ARE TAKIN' ME!!"

Kayla said...

I slept with my mama. =D I went to see it with said maternal unit, my best friend, Lauren, and the sister, Megan. Laur and I disagree with your sum-up of Micah, but I'm wondering if it's an age thing. Or a regional thing. *shrug* He didn't come across as douchy at all. He seemed like a lot of our friends and we both rather liked him. I dunno. Maybe we missed the point. =/