Paranormal Activity (review)

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Not So Scary

So I finally saw this Paranormal Activity flick that all the kids are into today, and all I could conclude was, Really? They think this is pants-wetting scary? My fellow professional film watchers seem to think so, too, which is — heh — truly frightening. Hyperbole is, perhaps, the most prominent stock in trade for film critics, but I’m sorta mystified to see comments like “it’s the sleeper hit that makes audiences too petrified to ever sleep again” and “one of the scariest movies in years… absolutely bone-chilling” and “the faint of heart need not apply.”

Cuz, far as I could see, Activity is about as terrifying as an amusement park spook house: you know, the kind in which fake skeletons pop out at you from obvious nooks in the wall and spray-can spiderwebs drip over your head in an attempt to freak you out. Which is to say: It does indeed sometimes offer a momentary cheap fright, the kind that instantly makes you laugh at yourself for being taken in by it. And it’s true: it must also be said that this makes Activity scarier than most of what passes for cinematic “horror” these days. But have none of these folks peeing their pants and unable to sleep at night seen, say, The Exorcist? Or Alien? Or Open Water? Or Cronenberg’s The Fly? Or Poltergeist, the movie to which Activity owes its biggest nod, even bigger than the oft-cited Blair Witch Project? (Not to mention movies less conventionally considered “horror,” such as Threads and A Clockwork Orange.) Does no one else see that the few genuinely creepy and original moments here are so few and far between that this would have been far more intriguing as a YouTube short, boiling those moments down to a snappy 30 minutes or so, than as a feature film?

I applaud filmmaker Oren Peli, honestly I do, for making a film as effective and as inventive as this one is — and for one striking such a chord with audiences, even if I don’t entirely agree with them — for less than the cost of a cheap car. This is a smack that Hollywood so richly deserves, a reminder that successful movies, even by the not-art measure of money, are not about CGI and overpaid movie stars and preposterous exaggeration but about things far simpler and far more down-to-earth than that. Perhaps the most effective element of Activity is its setting: Peli shot in his own San Diego home, as mundane a location as a haunted house movie has even capitalized on, to ramp up the scariness. Much of what makes the movie works, where it does — as 20something couple Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) cope with the vicious, invisible entity that is torturing them — is the notion that this really could be your home, this blandly decorated, not-Hollywood tract house. This is an ordinary house — oh, so ordinary — and Katie and Micah are oh-so ordinary people, which includes being so annoying and irrational that mostly you want to smack them, and it all makes the nonsense of demonic haunting at least somewhat more plausible.

Katie’s been bothered by this demon all her life, wherever she’s lived: a psychic (Mark Fredrichs) tells her, “You cannot run from this — it will follow you,” which eliminates the one obvious solution to most haunted house stories, the Get Out solution. Micah’s a techno geek who is getting a bit of a thrill out of setting up his camcorder to watch what happens when they sleep and watching the results the next morning (and yes, he jokes about letting the camcorder record other aspects of their relationship in the bedroom; it would have been unbelievable if he didn’t). That’s smart stuff, from a storytelling perspective. And it’s enough to make the movie worth seeing, though perhaps not worth paying multiplex prices for. In fact, it might even be scarier were you to watch it on your own TV, in your own living room, with your house or apartment building creaking and moaning and making all those weird noises that any building unavoidably makes.

The entire film consists of what Micah’s camcorder captures — weird noises in the middle of the night, hanging lighting fixtures swinging for no good reason, and so on — and this 21st-century take on cinema verité is all sorts of appropriate, authentic, and inevitable: from reality TV to YouTube to just how we all goof around with making our own instant cinema with our geek toys these days, there was no way in hell — heh — that we weren’t going to see a movie like this one from a filmmaker coming outta nowhere. Yeah, Cloverfield did something similar last year, though it was aping what Activity is, with its Hollywood-sized budget and subject matter, not an actual example of it. (Blair Witch, 10 years ago, was even less like either film, and more like the put-on of a mockumentary; that is, it’s more deliberate in feel, and less spontaneous.) Still, Cloverfield is a far better film than Paranormal Activity, which could serve as a reminder to filmmakers like Peli who think to storm the stronghold of Hollywood: Just because the studios have given in to excess of late doesn’t mean their successes don’t have lessons to teach. Telling a gripping story is still the most important thing a movie must do. Just because some movies can’t do that with an overload of FX doesn’t mean that a movie lacking them automatically does, either.

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Laurie Mann
Wed, Oct 21, 2009 4:26pm

Oh well. I feel like that last thriller I saw in the theaters might have been Aliens. It seems like almost anything that classifies itself as a thriller over the last 20 years goes the gross-out route. But, I don’t want to be bored either. If I thought Cloverfield was overrated, I’m probably not going to like Paranormal Activity.

Accounting Ninja
Accounting Ninja
Wed, Oct 21, 2009 4:36pm

Crap. I was so hoping this wasn’t just A Haunting in movie form. Which is more cheesy and irrational than scary.

Nihilio
Nihilio
Wed, Oct 21, 2009 6:06pm

Well, haven’t seen the movie yet, but the spannish [REC] was a pretty good shaking-camera horror.

Mathias
Mathias
Wed, Oct 21, 2009 8:21pm

This was a great scary movie. I thought it laid waste to the horror genre’s offerings this past decade.

The scariest film i’ve ever seen in theaters.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Wed, Oct 21, 2009 10:47pm

The scariest film i’ve ever seen in theaters.

How old are you, Mathias? I’m not being snide. I’m just suspecting that you must be very young, or don’t go to the movies very often.

mellisa
mellisa
Wed, Oct 21, 2009 11:43pm

i completely agree im a younger kid and this movie SUCKED. i wasted my money you sit there for about 80 minutes and then the last 10 minutes come and you get once scream. I have had scarrier things happen to my life. I hated it and would never recommned it IT PISSED ME THE TRUCK OFFF. SHITTTIEST MOVIE EVER >:O

Lisa
Lisa
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 8:24am

I think that you have to go into movies like these with an open mind you have to want to be scared / be a fan of this genre

a momentary cheap fright in a cinema will probably do well enough for me – i scare easy in the dark!

the last time I got freaked out by anything was the Dr Who episode Midnight (was on tv in the uk last night!) just the look on the Doctor’s face as he’s being dragged to his death / the strange way he’s speaking it just makes me feel very claustrophobic

I didn’t think the Blair Witch project was scary but it did have the great shot at the end where the guy was just standing there with his face to the wall

Cloverfield was a good laugh tho I was like die yuppie scum die all the way thru it lol

Jenna
Jenna
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 9:43am

Paranormal Activity was horrifying!

The last theatre movie that scared me was Blair Witch Project and that creeped me out only a little, the last scene in particular.

I was exhausted after watching Paranormal … there’s no relief from the tension you will feel.

You’ve probably heard already that a lot of the terror comes from what you don’t see and that’s true. I would guess that many people have an imagination that if prompted can go to darker places than anything they can show on screen.

Also liked that this movie involved a demon. Not much is known or has been investigated about demons because they are too evil to get near. A lot of my fear came from the unknown … what the hell is this thing capable of doing?!?!?

Higly recommend this movie, but see with someone you can hold on to.

Mathias
Mathias
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 10:24am

Actually MaryAnn, i’m 23. I’ve loved horror movies when i was a kid but someting happened when i hit puberty. They just didn’t do it for me anymore.
Mostly ‘cuz 99% of the time the genre forgets to make us care about the would be victims.

This film didn’t forget that. I was surprised by how much i liked this young couple and wanted to see them make through it all okay, which only made this scariers for me. ;)

I haven’t seen a horror film in theaters in almost a decade, i think it was Ginger Snaps in 2000. But i do go very often. I’m just not a horror fan anymore.

Mathias
Mathias
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 10:29am

Damn, i wish this site had an edit feature.

I’m tired of proof reading my words carefully, only to find that my grammar now resembles that of a 12 year old girl once i hit “post”.

Gotta work on my proof reading i guess.

bzero
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 10:43am

@Mathias Grammatical mistakes aside, it’s nice to see people who can answer a question without being offended. “I liked this movie because I cared about the characters and what happened to them, and that made it scary to me” (basically) is such a nice change from some of the trolls her who post, “YU DISAGREE WITH ME FUK YUO U SUK”. B)

bzero
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 10:44am

And something about my browser at work (which I can’t change or adjust since all options are locked) only lets me see half the comment box at a time, making proofreading really difficult, so please excuse my own grammatical/spelling/typing errors. B)

Mathias
Mathias
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 12:25pm

We all know that movies are subjective. When we sit down to watch a film, we’re bringing a lifetime of experience with us as baggage. I believe horror movies are even more so.

I wondered long and hard about why this film spooked me more than Alien, The Exorsist, Open Water, The Fly, Potergeist and yes even Jaws ever did. I think i know. It spoke to my specific fears. I’m not saying that i fear invisible demons more than sharks, aliens and demonic possesion but that i brought the specific lifetime baggage necessary to yeild the maximum amount of creeps from it.

When i was a kid, i was afraid of the dark. Yeah, i know that can be said for 99% of kids, but i’m pretty sure that my case was an outlier. I can remember one specific night in either 94 or 95, where i was convinced that something had crawled out from my closet and was standing at the side of my bed breathing hard. I had my back turned to it of course, staring out the window paralyzed with fright for the majority of the night. Only when the first rays of light peeked through did i gather up the courage to turn around and find…….nothing.

It wasn’t until almost high school when i finally conquered this fear. Something about the dark, something about 2:00 or 3:00 am, when the world seems dead and empty, that sparks the imagination to go into overdrive. Where every shadow, every object and every sound seems to be conspiring against you. Where you’re only safe under your blanket and you better make sure that said blanket is tucked in tight, lest something grabs your leg like poor Katie found out in this film.

But this film isn’t perfect, specificlly, i have three problems with it. The fact that they never leave (i’m sorry, but if what happened to Katie happened to me, you couldn’t keep me in that house if you had an assault rifle.), the gullibility of the boyfriend before the final scene and the final shot that was way too hollywood for this very un-hollywood film.

Regardless of these faults, brilliance of this movie, for me anyhow, was the way it brought me back to my childhood. I loved how it gave me just enough for my mind to fill in the blanks with horrific images and thoughts no filmmaker could ever compete with. The fact that this guy did it all with just one camera and $11,000 just blows me away.

Bernadette Bosky
Bernadette Bosky
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 1:16pm

I’d hate to think that people–including you, Laurie–would forgo this movie because of this review. I’m a veteran critic of horror fiction and movies, and I think it’s one of the best films in a decade, perhaps decades.

Anyone with a CGI budget can do in-theater scares that make you jump; skill is needed to make something creepy in a way that, well, haunts you for days after, making the whole world a more sinister place. PA did that for me.

It’s the setting, the somewhat ordinary-looking couple (the woman especially, pretty but not a screen-babe in a way that says THIS IS A MOVIE), the mostly-minor events (all of which I had read about in actual paranormal case studies). Cloverfierld–phht, a roller-coaster ride, but outside the theater, you know it’s all fiction and–well, so what? Poltergeist? One of my favorites, but less effective, in fact just gross, when the protagonist is bobbing in a mud-trough of corpses. That’s not going to happen.

With Paranormal Activity, my intellect knew the movie was a fake, but my lizard-brain did not. The days after the movie, its effects GREW on me. Few directors but Romero have been able to do that to me. It’s a significant accomplishment.

tomservo
tomservo
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 2:05pm

I’m a 36 year old horror movie freak, and this movie scared the shit out of me. I guess I must be some kind of ignorant peasant lacking the cultural sophistication of New York intellectuals.

Kim
Kim
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 2:40pm

Scary movies are the most subjective of all, I think – you can assume that people all have fears in common, but I scare very very easily (I was petrified of the dark until I was about 25) and even then the Blair Witch Project didn’t scare me at all. Poltergeist completely freaked me out, though, and don’t most people think of that film as a bit of a joke?

tomservo
tomservo
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 2:55pm

They are very subjective and people who project their opinions about another person based on their like/dislike of said subjective film need to check themselves..
Personally, I love horror movies, but rarely do I get scared by them. For some reason, movies like PA or other ghost/paranormal films (early naught J-horror were the best) give me the willies.

Sarah
Sarah
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 3:49pm

It’s such a cheap answer, but I truly think fright is in the eye of the beholder. MaryAnn, you’ve never been a homeowner (I’m guessing, since you live in New York City), maybe you’ve never been married. Maybe this movie would frighten someone in a different lifestyle more than you, the same way a movie like, say, Taxi Driver might frighten a city dweller more than someone who lived in the country.

I have always had a problem with corpses that move. Not zombies, emphatically not zombies. But a corpse, a dead thing that flops or twitches, just scares the hell out of me. So even though I’ve seen a lot of J-horror and classic horror, the ‘scariest’ movie I’ve ever seen was the American remake of The Ring. Why? Because of that girl in the closet who was dead and her head fell over. Fear isn’t logical, so it’s hard to evaluate subjectively.

Accounting Ninja
Accounting Ninja
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 4:17pm

They are very subjective and people who project their opinions about another person based on their like/dislike of said subjective film need to check themselves..

tomservo, you might want to check yourself, then…

I guess I must be some kind of ignorant peasant lacking the cultural sophistication of New York intellectuals.

Just sayin’.

tomservo
tomservo
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 5:00pm

Hey, I’m just standing up for my peeps.

LaSargenta
LaSargenta
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 5:07pm

We have time for some wood…(refer to the monty python thread if that missed you)

And here we have Eddie Izzard on horror films: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4yrL6rc6bU

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 5:16pm

Also liked that this movie involved a demon. Not much is known or has been investigated about demons because they are too evil to get near.

Oh, honey, not much is known about demons because there’s no such thing as demons.

MaryAnn, you’ve never been a homeowner (I’m guessing, since you live in New York City), maybe you’ve never been married.

No, I’ve never been married — though I don’t see what that has to do with anything, since the couple in the movie is not married either — and I’ve never owned a house. But I’ve lived in a house. In fact, everywhere I’ve lived for the past 15 years has been “house.” Does being under the thrall of a mortgage make a difference?

skill is needed to make something creepy in a way that, well, haunts you for days after, making the whole world a more sinister place.

Agreed. But *PA* did not do this for me.

I’m a 36 year old horror movie freak, and this movie scared the shit out of me. I guess I must be some kind of ignorant peasant lacking the cultural sophistication of New York intellectuals.

Hmm. So, what, specifically, tomservo, did you find so scary? Can you explain it to me?

tomservo
tomservo
Thu, Oct 22, 2009 5:43pm

I know someone has said this before, but it seemed so real. Intellectually, I knew it was entirely fiction, but my visceral response overwhelmed any safe places my mind could come up with. I wasn’t sitting there thinking, “I’m watching a cheaply made exercise in hackneyed manipulation,” but feeling like I was experiencing the same terror the characters were.

Kate
Kate
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 9:14am

hey maryann, (lovely name by the way) can you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that demons do not exist?

bjork
bjork
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 9:41am

Hey, Kate, can you prove that demons do exist? Or is that a matter of faith being enough, but science never so?

I’d not heard of this movie until a week ago, and I cannot say if it would or would not appeal to me. A couple of the posters divulged a little too much, so PA can wait until Netflix.

Kate
Kate
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 9:57am

bjork (really your name?) I responded to maryann who had a snide comment for Jenna … “Oh honey… demons do not exist.” Don’t start an argument unless you can back up what you say. Jenna didn’t say demons are real or not real, just that not much is know about them.

Brad
Brad
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 10:49am

How much does faith influence how people react to horror movies, I wonder. I know that my mom, for example, is unfazed by any supernatural goings-on at all. Some movies might startle her, which sadly is what passes for “horror” so often, but none has ever scared her. She’s strongly christian and firmly believes “The dead do not cross over”, as she likes to quote (or paraphrase), so the idea of ghosts and ghouls just doesn’t occur to her. A hem-hawing agnostics like myself isn’t so sure, so I’m willing to accept the idea for at least the run of the movie. I should ask my mom what she believes about demons, I don’t recall her saying.

Sadly my local theater has decided not to show this as yet, in favor of holding over the latest Tyler Perry thing and some awful-sounding flick called Opa. I was seriously looking forward to the movie too, I enjoyed both BWP and Cloverfield and PA seems to be along the same lines.

Mathias
Mathias
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 11:05am

Hey Kate, not much is known about the giant invisible flying spaghetti monster either.

And Jenna, once you do your research on demons, come back and tell us all about Bigfoot & Unicorns too.

Kate
Kate
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 11:14am

mathias, you’re not the brightest bulb huh? it’s like trying to reason with a 3 year old. did jenna say that they do exist? no. why can’t she post a comment without an insulting response from someone that has nothing to contribute?

Tim1974
Tim1974
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 11:46am

I saw this film and enjoyed it. I liked the style that was used with the couple filming it themselves. I did not find that it was as scary as some have stated. It was not the scariest film I have ever seen but I found it be good entertainment. It kept some tension and provided some fright without all the gore and blood. For me, the technical aspects of film have no importance. I just enjoyed seeing it and that is all that matters. I would suggest it to anyone who likes a good scary show without the typical blood, guts, and violence of the horror genre of today.

Erik
Erik
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 1:24pm

Although I can understand the point of view of the review, based on some of the comments made by the author, it seems as though they are trying far too hard to not like this movie.

Mathias
Mathias
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 1:47pm

@ Kate: It’s obvious that Jenna believes Demons exist, otherwise why would she be interested in and seek out research on them?

Do you agree with her Kate? What do you believe? And why are you placing the onus of proof on the person who refutes the exist of these made-up creatures rather than the person who makes this claim in the first place?

Vardulon
Vardulon
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 2:28pm

Maryanne-

It’s good to discover that I’m not alone in wondering why this movie has been so overrated. I went to see it without knowing anything (other than its purported terrifyingness) and was surprised at how ‘meh’ I found the whole experience.

Of course, my complaints mostly had to do with how stupidly the main characters were acting.

frigidcanuck
frigidcanuck
Fri, Oct 23, 2009 9:57pm

call me crazy, but it seems to me until you’re actually in the situation you really can’t determine if a person is acting stupidly. Granted, yes, I do agree that in some instances the solution to the problem is to simply run, however, some don’t own that kind of capacity. Having been in danger myself, I’ve seen people lock up for the most ridiculous things. I believe this is one of those times.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sun, Oct 25, 2009 1:34pm

hey maryann, (lovely name by the way) can you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that demons do not exist?

Seriously, Kate: Are you kidding?

You really do not want to get into a debate over the existence of demons (or Santa Claus, or unicorns, or God) with the readers of this web site. Or with me.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sun, Oct 25, 2009 1:35pm

Although I can understand the point of view of the review, based on some of the comments made by the author, it seems as though they are trying far too hard to not like this movie.

Yup, that’s what it is, Erik. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I sat through the whole movie secretly enjoying it to the hilt, but I’d already determined to write a less than 100 percent positive review. Just because.

It’s how I work all the time. Anyone can tell you that.

nunyabiz84
nunyabiz84
Sun, Oct 25, 2009 9:57pm

Wow that last scene was frightening.
But other than that… Was I watching the same movie as everyone else? That was a godawful, boring mess that was poorly put together and tiring to watch.
I kept waiting and waiting for these allegedly “terrifying” moments that never happened. Like others have said, the characters are annoying. The boyfriend is just an immature, inconsiderate prick, and the girl is a whiny and even more boring version of Pam from The Office.
I normally LOVE horror movies and would consider myself easily scared. I’m not hard to please whatsoever. But I have to admit that I felt exhausted and utterly disappointed after enduring this awful, terribly flawed film. The only thing that scares me here is that people must be growing stupider to rave in complete seriousness about such a cinematic flop.

Jenna
Jenna
Mon, Oct 26, 2009 9:11am

Mathias-if you must keep posting, please show some intelligence.

pissedoffviewer
pissedoffviewer
Mon, Oct 26, 2009 10:50am

It has been over a week since I have seen this lame movie and I am still pissed. The movie was absolutely WHACK. I can’t believe i fell for the hype. A couple of loud noises that made you slightly jump and that is suppose to make it one of the scariest movies off all time?????I don’t think so. Me along with more than half the theater yelled “boooooo” and “I want my money back at the end”…WHAT A RIP OFF!!!!

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Mon, Oct 26, 2009 11:58am

Jenna wrote:

Mathias-if you must keep posting, please show some intelligence.

Jenna, I’m afraid it’s you who is demonstrating a lack of attention to reason and rationality. If you really are going to make the extraordinary claim that demons exist, you’re going to have to show some evidence of it, just as someone who claimed that Santa Claus existed would be laughed at unless he had some solid proof of such a claim.

Allen Darrah
Mon, Oct 26, 2009 4:17pm

Basically I’ve found similar comments (didn’t think it was all that scary) from a few friends who thought this was a well made ultra-low budget film, were happy with how well it’s doing (mostly because of that low budget, not in spite of it) but didn’t get all freaked out. But I sure did.
Basically it all comes down to one thing: they don’t believe in ghosts/demons/afterlife/etc and I do. I tend to get spooked pretty easy, too, so my disbelief didn’t even need to be suspended, cause I believe. I can turn down a hallway with the lights off and my hair stands on end trying to focus into the darkness. Years and years of reading Stephen King and living in old houses I guess.
What gets me is how often people are tossing the word “boring” at the movie. I’m wondering what the root of that is; I’m guessing decades of ultra-slick fast-paced Hollywood have taken their toll on our patience. I felt it was important to the movie’s pace to set up the protagonists as “normal” people, meaning most of us don’t live a life of break-neck hilarity/action; if these people had, the haunting of their home wouldn’t have been nearly as believable.

Lawschool_Douchebag
Mon, Oct 26, 2009 5:51pm

Umm, The Exorcist was not scary. Shocking? Yes, but not scary. However, Alien was paralyzing.

I have not seen Paranormal Activity yet, but it is the scariest film ever. According to a blogger, it is the most frightening movie since Sorority Row.

IMHO, Hitchcock’s Psycho is the most terrifying film of all time. But what do I know, I am only 26.

H
H
Mon, Oct 26, 2009 6:45pm

That funny, because for me it was absolutely opposite. After Alien I just lost an appetite for few hours. After Exorcist I had nightmares for few weeks.

CB
CB
Mon, Oct 26, 2009 7:43pm

I know it’s pretty futile to try to glean a movie’s worth from its trailers (kinda sad statement by itself), but all I saw in the trailers for this movie was what appeared to be a bunch of reaction shots to startles. And I’m going to be blunt – I don’t just hate startles, I resent them. Because yes I can be startled, and yes it makes my heart pump and my adrenaline rush, but they aren’t scary, not in themselves and certainly not the anticipation of an obvious upcoming startle. Instead it’s the director just abusing instinctual physiology to make me ape the sensation of fear. It’s cheap, basically.

The scariest part of Blair Witch was as noted the end with the guy standing with his nose in the corner. We know he’s mimicking what the victims of the serial killer were made to do, but why? Freaky as can be. The sudden hit-from-behind on the girl’s head? Not scary, and totally expected. In The Ring, when Samara comes out of the TV, it’s not sudden or shocking, it’s slow and purposeful. It’s the unnatural way she moves and the fel malice radiating from her even though you can’t see her features. When she then suddenly appears right beside her victim, it’s not scary because it’s shocking, but because it means he can’t run from her she’s right there and he’s going to die!

Alien had its fair share of startles, but actually for most of them you were allowed to know the alien was there prior to the attack, so it was suspenseful, not randomly startling. The whole movie was about building suspense; it takes more than half the movie doing it before anything ‘scary’ happens. And what could have been the biggest startle of all, the chest-burster scene, was actually drawn out in slow motion and everything. It was legitimately horrifying, surprise or no.

Though to be fair, Ridley Scott did abuse the startle to get a reaction in that scene, in this case startling the actors by not telling them exactly how much blood was going to be spewing from the dummy on the table. :)

Anyway, my point is, it takes a lot of work to make a startle more than a cheap thrill, a movie full of startles is a movie full of cheap tricks to me, and this one doesn’t sound like a lot more. Couple haunted by a poltergeist I mean demon just doesn’t sound like the setup for a prolonged creep scare.

I could be wrong, I admit. But these days I’m not going to spend the scratch to find out if my gut instinct is wrong. Maybe I’ll take MaryAnn’s suggestion and watch it at home sometime.

P.S.

I have not seen Paranormal Activity yet, but it is the scariest film ever.

LOL. I’m convinced.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Mon, Oct 26, 2009 10:45pm

Basically it all comes down to one thing: they don’t believe in ghosts/demons/afterlife/etc and I do.

One shouldn’t need to believe in demons for *PA* to work any more than one should need to believe in hobbits for *LOTR* to work.

tomservo
tomservo
Tue, Oct 27, 2009 12:14am

One shouldn’t need to believe in demons for *PA* to work any more than one should need to believe in hobbits for *LOTR* to work

Though your statement has all the validity of intellectual consistency and, respecting your critical skills, I’m way out of my element, I have to dissent. It’s a matter of perspective. LOTR is a great work of art, to be sure but PA is an entirely different matter. I don’t know about demons or the afterlife, but I know a couple of rational, non-flakey people who swear up and down that freaky shit has happened in their homes which seems to have no explanation. Perhaps it’s all crap, but the possibility is still there. That alone fucks w/ me, much less a film that follows the same kind of experience.

Lawschool_Douchebag
Tue, Oct 27, 2009 2:05pm

Why does everyone on here try so hard to write intelligently? Pretentious much?

Allen Darrah
Tue, Oct 27, 2009 2:23pm

One shouldn’t need to believe in demons for *PA* to work any more than one should need to believe in hobbits for *LOTR* to work.

Well, now that does make sense, except I don’t think all the weird crap I’ve seen in spooky places in the world were hobbits. Maybe it was all my mind playing tricks on me with the use of neural responses to rushes of adrenaline caused by now almost unnecessary instincts at being in dark places, or maybe faulty electrical wiring, but I’d only fear for my tobacco if hobbits were around. I sometimes get paralyzed by the dark. So pyschological problems or real spirits from beyond, either way to me it’s real.

Now, these things all -could- only exist in our imagination, but my imagination doesn’t simply “turn off”. It’s probably the most constant thing in my life. So it’s probably a stretch for someone who tries to approach the creative side of their brain rationally to understand that, but if ghosts/demons/spooks/whatever exist in my mind,then they exist all the same.

Hmm, this makes perfect sense to me, but I’m sure it isn’t coming across right.

Accounting Ninja
Accounting Ninja
Tue, Oct 27, 2009 3:17pm

Why does everyone on here try so hard to write intelligently? Pretentious much?

If you can’t hack writing intelligently or reading thoughtful responses without equating it with pretention, this isn’t the place for you, Douchebag.

Oh, sorry, did I use too many big words?

CB
CB
Tue, Oct 27, 2009 3:32pm

One shouldn’t need to believe in demons for *PA* to work any more than one should need to believe in hobbits for *LOTR* to work.

Exactly. I don’t believe in Evil Psychic TV Girls, but The Ring scared the poop out of me. I don’t believe in H.R. Giger paintings come to life on a distant exoplanet, but Alien scared me. And so on. :)