Saturday, October 10, 2009
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: A Quick Review
Okay, so I ducked out yesterday afternoon to see the much-hyped--"the scariest movie of all time!"--new movie, Paranormal Activity. It's in limited release and playing in only a few cities. Lucky me, I live in Seattle, where I could walk to one of the three theaters where it's being screened. The hope is Twitter buzz will bring wider distribution.
Made for only $11,000, Paranormal Activity is short on plot and character development. But the filmmakers were smart. A la The Blair Witch Project, they worked the low budget limitations into the story, making the use of a home video camera central to the story. (By the way: PA is much better than BWP). It makes sense and gives the simple story an immediacy. The movie can be summed up easily. A couple is experiencing paranormal activity. He buys a camera to record it. We find that she is the object of a demon's affection and it has been following her sporadically for years. Will the demon get her? Him? Both? There's lots of time-elapsed footage of the couple in bed asleep while creepy things happen around them.
That's about it. Oh, except for the truly shocking ending...
But I am of the mind that scary movies are like funny ones: they really have only one criterion. If it's supposed to be a funny movie and makes you laugh, it's a success. If it's a scary movie and gives you chills, it's a success.
Paranormal Activity gave me chills. I do not say that lightly, since I'm about as jaded as they come when it comes to horror. I don't scare easily. But this movie unsettled me and left a residue of dread and terror deep within me after I left the film. Sure it's low budget and looks it. But these seem like real people and the paranormal manifestation has the earmarks of something real, evil, and horrifying.
Is it the scariest movie of all time, as the posters claim? Hell no, but it gives you real scare bang for your buck, just in time for Halloween.
Watch the trailer.