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Thoughts on 'Paranormal Activity' . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Matinee or Rental. Scary movies are often more fun in the theater due to the shared audience experience, however, since 'Paranormal Activity' is set largely inside a house for its running time, it might be equally as unsettling if you waited for a rental and watche it at home.

Will I Own It On DVD: No. It was enjoyable enough to sit through one time, but I don't see myself ever returning to the film.

Overrall Grade: B-

1) 'Paranormal Activity' is a lesson in stellar viral marketing as this low budget movie (Cost: something like $15,000 to make) has already earned more than $30 million after the studio rolled it out in extremely limited release while hyping it up as the scariest movie you've seen in a long time because it's real - or at least as real as 'The Blair Witch Project' which is the obvious cinematic parallel.

2) That being said, 'Activity' does provide some legitimite bits of terror, although this film is definitely a things that go bump in the night project versus the torture-porn horror films like Saw 27.

3) 'Activity' is shot documentary-style and follows a young couple living together who try to capture evidence of a ghost or demon that has been haunting the woman since childhood. The bulk of the footage is shot from a tripod in their bedroom as the haunting largely occurs while they're asleep, which means you get a lot of footage from this angle:

To the filmmakers credit, however, they wring about as much tension as you can out of a suburban San Diego home without specifically mentioning the drastic fall in real estate prices the past few years.

4) In scary movies there is always at least one character who is generally annoying and/or insanely stupid and who you generally root for to meet their demise. In 'Activity' this character was the boyfriend, who is the film geek intent on antagonizing the ghost/demon, although the haunting expert the couple brings in for help runs a close second.

5) Overall, 'Activity' accomplishes its goal of creating a spooky reality without resulting to gimmickery. It is at least 15 - 20 minutes too long, but if you can stick with it, viewers are rewarded with an ending that works pretty damn well.



  1. Heff Says:
  2. Never even heard of this one. I DID see "Zombieland" a few weeks ago. I think I laughed TWICE.

  3. Heff - Glad to see you back & that you're still alive . . . Ha. I didn't find 'Zombieland' hilarious, but I found myself smiling several times & generally enjoyed it.

  4. Heff Says:
  5. "Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated", lol.

  6. Linda Says:
  7. I really thought the suspense was well done in this film, and it starts before you even got to the theater. Every time they showed the bedroom we see in the trailer, the theater was stone quite. I kinda liked the boyfriend, I actually found the girl more annoying. I loved the ending. Good review.

  8. Boxer Says:
  9. did you like BLAIR WITCH? anything like that? I'm going to see this one, if for nothing else to prove to Hollywood that over price block busters aren't always what the public wants to see. Of course, SNAKES ON A PLANE enjoyed the same internet buzz and that wasn't a good movie.

    You're seeing a lot of movies right now and that's great those of us who want to wait for your reviews. What's next?

  10. JLee Says:
  11. This might be fun to see next week around Halloween time. I think I might do that to get in the spirit ;)

  12. Gypsy Says:
  13. I haven't heard a thing about this movie but it would be far too scary for me anyway. Glad you enjoyed it.

  14. Heff - Excellent, now where's my reading invite you dirty rat. Ha.

    Linda - Yeah, they played it up pretty well as it was definitely a slow building tension. I mostly got tired of the boyfriend for not taking the ghost/demon seriously and for the Oujia board. Ha. But you're right about the ending.

    Boxer - Strangely enough, I'm one of the few people who never saw 'Blair Witch.' Don't know why, but it never really interested me at all. And you're right about 'Snakes' as I did see that one, and never want to again. Ha. Finally, the fall/winter is generally my favorite movie season as the films are less comic-book oriented . . . that being said, next on my list is going to see 'Where The Wild Things Are' on IMAX on Friday for a date night. Should be fun. Review up on Monday.

    Jlee - That would be an excellent time to check this one out. Definitely.

    Gypsy - Yeah, Mrs. $2 opted out for that reason too, so I saw it with my brother. Ha.


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