PARANORMAL ACTIVITY :: HORROR :: 007

9bearparanormal-activityIt’s the night before Halloween and Jenny and I are eager to see what the buzz is about; this Paranormal Activity.   Sources said that this 15k film had already raked in $22 million and was largely due to its genius marketing approach.  I have to admit that I was very intrigued by the trailer which features audiences as they gasp and advert there eyes in terror.  I have to say, that after viewing this film, the hype is warranted… and I believe that the masses must be correct with this one.

Paranormal Activity begins [without the much-loved, movie trailers beforehand] straight away, with young couple, Katie and Micah.  Micah just purchased an expensive video camera to document their paranormal experiences within their new household.  Naive Micah boldly attempts to flush out the spirit while at the same time, protecting and comforting his girlfriend.  During the “witching hours” of the night, the experiences become increasingly more intense.

There will obviously be critics and viewers that think this is rubbish, but I believe they’ll have a hard time explaining themselves for several reasons.

  • If the average critic looks at this film, they can’t possibly mark off for poor acting because, as Katie and Micah are playing normal non-acting inhabitants, their actions, their uncomfortable behavior in front of the camera is understandable.  Who’s completely themselves when a camera is in front of them?  Besides, the acting is well done for the most part (just a few iffy moments), the dialogue was realistic and their relationship seemed very genuine.
  • If the same critic looks at the technical aspects of the film, you have no choice but to chalk it up to the fact that Micah is a first-time director [as his character] and must use only that which he is given (i.e. light, sound, etc).

As a film lover and reviewer, we have to stay as objective as possible and ask ourselves truthfully,  “How frightened were we” and importantly, “Were we entertained?”  For Jenny and I, we were thoroughly entertained.  Jenny clutched and clamped off the blood supply to my right arm several times during those night-time camera shots.  As a horror fan myself, de-sensitized to most shock and gore, I found Paranormal Activity to be a film that exceeds the mold of most horror flicks because of its relation to the audience.  We relate to the couple because, like most of the audience, we came in as couples and we behave and would have behaved in a similar fashion as the people in the film [with the exception that perhaps most of us would have left the house, called Tangina (reference to Poltergeist), or gotten a young priest and old priest! (reference to The Exorcist)].

Micah, like most men, feel like they can fix anything.  Something goes wrong… what do we need to do?  It’s a mystery to be solved.  Katie gets angered at his attempts to get the spirit to “reveal itself” and like a rebellious child, continues to act like Peter Venkman and attempts to ghost-bust the entity.  But they are missing some vital pieces of equipment- a proton pack, ghost trap and an Ecto-Containment Unit.  Katie’s temper flares in a most realistic fashion, and sends my male body into a quite familiar state- stubborn dismissal.  He humorously asks the entity “What’s your quest?”…  “What’s your favorite color?” -which gave this Monty Python fan a teethful grin and a hardy laugh.

The deduction comes not necessarily from the film’s lack of trying, but from the departure of what a rational human being, when confronted by the supernatural, would do.  At what links would one go to seek help? Katie and Micah didn’t realistically seek hard enough and it can’t help but to come across to the audience.  The movie, although a bit slow at the beginning, comes through in big ways.  Shot stylistically like The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity gave more depth by creating a force/entity that audiences are familiar with (by way of shows like Ghost Hunters and Supernatural) – but by which the force remains unknown, unexplainable and unstoppable.  Watch for yourself and give your comments below.  We want to know!

On a similar note – and this is the truth – Jenny and I had a brush with the “paranormal” just today.  Coincidence or not?  What did happen is that we had just finished our martial art class and were ready to leave the studio when a necklace, encased in an airtight plastic necklace holder, swung against the side of the container and continued to swing from side-to-side while the remaining 3 necklaces remained still.  A bit freaked out, but still skeptical, I peered around and didn’t find anything that could have moved it… no black cat.. no gremlin.  Jenny and I were the only witnesses.  But it gets me thinking… are the spirits a bit more alive on Halloween?

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