Now I know I’m a little behind the curve, but I finally just got around to seeing “Paranormal Activity.” I thought it was overall a good movie, though the ending could have been a little better (like maybe not so, er, in your face). It’s good to leave things to mystery sometimes! Anyway, since I’ve been a bad ghost huntress blogger by not even acknowledging the movie up until now (since I wanted to see it before I wrote about it), I’m going to try to redeem myself by posting a review now. Over a month after it’s been released. Whatever! I don’t need any judgments! And when I say I’m posting a review, what I mean is I am posting someone else’s review, written in hilarious British speak.
First things first. Paranormal Activity did not chill me to the bone, freak me out or leave me sleepless for weeks. It is not the scariest film ever, but then nor was The Blair Witch Project which became one of the highest-grossing films of all time in ratio to the thruppence ha’penny or whatever for which it was made.
Oren Peli‘s ultra-low budget film has already achieved box-office phenomenon status after a mighty run in America and there is certainly something interesting about Paranormal Activity. But it isn’t the business aspect, nor the spooky factor, the things going bump in the night while a bickering young couple – We’re engaged to be engaged” – try to sleep in their smart San Diego starter home.
What’s really at play isn’t a demon or poltergeist which knocks keys off the table or makes the bedroom door snap open; rather, it’s the relationship the characters develop with film itself, an obsession with watching and recording footage. The character of Heather in Blair Witch was possessed by little more than a desire to film, and Micah (the actors use their own names for their characters here) is equally committed to capturing his girlfriend Katie’s trauma on his new high-definition video camera.
The film’s most fascinating moments are thus the time-lapsed ones of the couple asleep, caught in night vision mode by the camera positioned religiously on its tripod every night, at the end of the bed. We, the audience, then watch the couple speeded up with the time code ticking away as they toss and turn until the replay slows down to playback speed, signalling something scary is about to happen. This is an ingenious cinematic device, a new way of ratcheting up tension and arriving at release.
What I don’t get is how a couple who is clearly several years younger than me can own a house. And a really nice house at that. With nice furniture. I mean, I know he’s a “day trader” or whatever. But seriously. Very few people at their level of maturity have their act together that much to actually own such a sweet piece of property (and did you SEE her car in the beginning?). If they weren’t haunted by some demon-thing, would Micah even still have his job, or would the couple have plummeted into financial ruin? Maybe Katie did him a favor after all…