Someone asked me recently why I hadn’t seen or reviewed Paranormal Activity, and the answer was easy: the film was not scheduled to open in New York, and there had been no press screenings of it. It’s just started playing here now, and I’ll have to make room to check it out, because of the hype if nothing else.
The hype? It’s this. First-time writer-director Oren Peli made a movie on a budget of $11,000 — not eleven million, eleven thousand — with no stars, and it’s so freakin’ scary that it makes The Blair Witch Project look like Bambi, and it will curdle milk and make your popcorn rot right in the bucket and cool shit like that.
And then there’s this (seen in an ad on the IMDB this morning):
That’s right: audiences themselves are voting on whether or not this movie should come to their towns. Of course, they don’t really have much to go on apart from this trailer and the near-universal praise of the few critics who have seen it. (If you want to vote, you can do so at the film’s official site.)
I guess it’s working. The distributors can’t have spent much more on marketing than it cost to make the movie, and as it’s already edging up on takings of a million bucks from only 33 theaters. Whether the movie’s any good or not, the marketing of it is genius.
Paranormal Activity is now playing in limited release in the U.S.; no U.K. release date has been announced.
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