Newest Review: ... of the cinemas allegedly half-way through watching this because they were scared. I mean...really?!? The extras on the DVD include an alte... more
Outrageous Bedroom Antics
Paranormal Activity (DVD)
Member Name: utero
Paranormal Activity (DVD)
Advantages: Short and sweet, well orchestrated
Disadvantages: Just not scary
In 1999 a film came out that was a masterpiece in marketing. That film was The Blair Witch Project, made for peanuts and passed off as a real event, the film captured imaginations and went on with pull in well over $100 million worldwide.
Nearly a decade later we have Paranormal Activity, a film which can't help but draw comparisons to Blair Witch's success. Both are low budget video productions with small casts, marketed as real life chilling tales and both laughed their way to the bank.
I had the luxury of seeing Blair Witch before it ever got a cinema release in the UK so I saw it without the hype it had attached by the time UK audiences saw it. Behind the hype, that film was actually a well-orchestrated piece of horror.
I just don't understand how Paranormal Activity gained the same sort of box office reaction. Firstly we already know that the premise of it being real life footage is bogus. That takes some of the scare element out of it straight away. The 'story' follows a young couple in their new home, after experiencing various bumps in the night they set-up a video camera in their bedroom to capture any night-time occurrences. It seems there's a demon hanging around and he getting angrier as the couple delve deeper into finding out how to rid their home of this paranormal activity.
Everything is shot in a real perspective with the couple interacting whilst operating the camera. It's certainly a home video style and there's no flashy panache to it. As a couple, the two actors in the film are believable and likeable for the most part. Unlike low budget shark thriller Open Water, you actually have some affection for the horrors on screen the characters are going through.
I will give props to the orchestration of some of the demon effects on show in the film. No there's no CGI fire blazing devils, just subtle things like footprints appearing in talc, shadows on doors, stuff like that.
But ultimately I just found the film a tad boring, not really that involving and above all else not very scary. I guess it didn't tap into my fears. If I was faced with the film on a large screen in a dark theatre then the experience may have been different. So perhaps on the small screen, Paranormal Activity loses some of its hyperbole.
For me, I judge most horror's these days against others that did actually scare and unnerve me. The only film to really do that to me in recent memory is The Descent. This home video chiller doesn't come close yet took tons more money - go figure.
- The Disc -
I saw this movie on Blu-ray. Of course the production quality isn't a Hollywood standard. The video quality is good enough, the sound at times is muffled but I guess that's part of the home movie feel the film intends.
The disc offers a theatrical version and an alternate version to view. Both have similar run times and all they seem to share is a different ending. The alternate ending is a bit more graphic and doesn't Segway into the inevitable sequel they have rushed out for this Halloween.
Other than that you have the alternate ending on its own as well as a winner of a Paranormal Activity contest where someones shot their own home movie chiller.
Overall I'd wait till this shows up on TV, it's not worthy of the hype and if you seriously find it scary then you need to search out better films.
Summary: A movie that doesn't live up to the hype