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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What do you think of the alternate ending of ‘Paranormal Activity’?

[no spoilers in this post, but expect them in comments]

Genuine, Oren Peli-created alternate endings for Paranormal Activity have been floating around the Internet for months, but with the release of the Region 1 DVD a couple of weeks ago, one of those alternates has gotten the stamp of “official” alternate: it’s the only bonus material to speak of on the disc. (The film is still playing in British cinemas; it’ll be released on Region 2 DVD on March 22.)

What do you think of that official alternate ending?
If you haven’t seen it, there’s a not-very-good YouTube of it… but be warned that the title of the video spoils how it ends.

There’s another official alternate that isn’t on the DVD, which you can watch at Disclose.tv (no spoilers on that page).

For a description of both of these endings, plus one other that Peli did not shoot, see EW’s Popwatch.

Feel free to discuss any or all of them.

I prefer the alternate ending on the DVD: it’s a lot more powerful, and a lot more shocking.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • i am confused by the rather paradoxical term “official alternate ending…”

    you keep using that word…

  • Hank Graham

    I say go for the throat.

  • I prefer the one with Cloris Leachman.

  • I normally hate sequel-friendly endings but I must admit that I prefer the theatrical ending despite that hokey effect at the end, if for no other reason than the fact there’s something more unsettling about a story that ends with one character’s fate still in question than a story in which everyone’s fate is tied up in a neat bow.

    However, I must admit that I found the scenes of Katie nodding by the bed in the Disclose.TV version to be genuinely unsettling.

  • Jason M.

    I still prefer the theatrical, Spielberg-suggested ending. Micah’s death occurring off-camera is creepy and powerful, and something I’m glad they never changed. But dramatically, you just can’t end the movie without putting Katie in front of the camera for the final shot. The “knife” ending felt a little contrived, like the demon came back up the stairs for the sole purpose of smiling in a “Big Reveal” sort of way, playing to the camera. Throughout the movie, the demon missed a lot of opportunities to do some real damage (all those hours of making Katie simply stand and wait by the bed), suggesting that it only randomly, sporadically, has a foothold on Katie or this world. The way Demon-Katie sniffs the body of the man she just killed, and only then just notices the camera seem more consistent with the half-aware, sleepwalky demon we had seen throughout the movie. And that long, long series of footsteps up the stairs culminating in Katie simply walking into the room is not nearly as scary as hearing them stop … as you brace yourself for what in the world is coming next. As cheap a scare as it may be, this ending provided the only real “jump” scene in a movie I did not find terribly scary.

  • John B

    I prefer the theatrical ending. It seemed to me that the demon’s goal was to possess a human’s body (ie Katie’s) which you can tell it did in some places especially when she has that sly smile for the camera when she is lying in bed and Micah wants them to leave. I don’t think it was the demon’s goal to kill her. I do think it was it’s goal to kill Micah though. Remember, he broke the picture of them, it was his face that was cracked. I think the demon saw Micah as a threat and wanted him to die. Remember the long scenes of Katie getting up in her sleep, obviously possessed, and just staring at him. Basically, I think the alternate ending, shocking as it may have been, didn’t ring true with the rest of the movie.

  • bee

    Im slightly confused. You all talk about a ‘theatrical’ ending? In the film I saw (I will admit I got it from online) the ending is the cops come and shoot Katie. What exactly happens in the theatrical ending???

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