Paranormal Activity

October 22, 2010 5:06 pm 0 comments

This is my second viewing of Paranormal Activity and the first time in a home setting.

After catching the sequel (if that is the right word) on Wednesday night I wanted to re-live the original film. I’ve been a huge fan of PA since it was released and with the abundance of tie-ins in the sequel it was almost a no-brainer that I would be watching the film that started it all.

My biggest question was how the film would play out while watching at home with just Ash (my dog) for company (we started watching it around midnight). Would it be as scary without a massive audience and electricity that accompanies theater viewings? Would my apartment in suburbia make the viewing experience hit a little too close to home? Or maybe the whole enchilada would fall flat.

The answer: It’s still damn scary. And the watching at home in a similar setting played a large role. I definitely cursed myself for not fixing the lower staircase light. And yes, every creak, every crack heightened my senses to fight or flight levels. Even the familiar sound of a bed rocking in a near by room scared me. Alright, it didn’t, but it was a sad reminder that this blog has slowly killed off my dating life. Just four months to go. Just four months to go.

Paranormal Activity is a “found footage” film that has few equals. Not since the original Blair Witch have as many people simultaneously loved and loathed a film. It’s clearly something that viewers either get on board with or are simply bored by. Not a not of room in the middle.

A young and mostly happy couple, Micah and Katie, live in a modest San Diego neighborhood. A demon attacks them; viewers see the released police footage of Micah’s home videos. Micah (the guy has a great name, I’ll give him that) is mostly obnoxious. He takes the “happenings” about as seriously as I take Ash’s request for table scraps; with as little gravitas as possible. This of course works to anger the demon and up the craziness. As much as I can’t stand the guy, he does a good job of making the viewer want to yell things like, “Why are you such a f*cking idiot!!!” and, “Are you seriously gonna mess with a Ouija board!?”

By preying on deep-rooted and common fears PA manages to inject a sense of dread and uneasiness that goes well beyond the level most horror films serve up. It feels real. It looks real. It could be real. I personally think that is what makes the PA films work so well. They are setup in a manner that leads to suspending belief, especially if you compare them to others in the horror genre. I can buy a supernatural force in my house, which looks like my house, shot on a camera that I may already have in my house. It’s a tougher sell to get me to believe in a serial killer that has been blown to bits and sent to hell coming back to exact revenge on sexed up teens.

Rating: 8/10

Snore Factor:  Z (no sleeping will occur before or after viewing – it’s like a Redbull)

IMDB 2009


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