Saturday, October 24, 2009

Paranormal Activity (Spoiler Alert!!!)

The Synopsis of the film is this: a woman named Katie (Katie Featherston) has been followed by a demon since she was eight-years-old. When she moves in with her long term boyfriend, Micah (Micah Sloat), the demon gets jealous and starts throwing regular temper tantrums that escalate in response to the boyfriend’s egotistical demonstration of "quien es mas macho."

Throughout the entire film the audience is kept waiting for something fantastic to happen. Instead, we are forced to succumb to 86 minutes of rap-tap-tapping on the hardwood floors and shaky video footage. Like every good horror movie it begins when the characters ignore the sound advice of the psychic who tells them not to try to communicate with the spirits. But it wouldn't be a horror movie if they'd actually listened. Night after night the relationship between the two characters begins to deteriorate almost as quickly as the audience's attention span. It isn't until the last ten minutes of the film that something tangible actually begins to happen.

After spending more than an hour trying to figure out what, if anything, in this film made those people in the commercials jump out of their chairs with fear, you finally get your answer at the end of the movie. You'll clench your seat or honey bunny waiting to see something, anything, emerge from the darkness of the stairway. And suddenly, a body, thrown right into your face. Anyone who says they didn't jump out of their skin when this happened is a total liar. They are just as bad as the misleading commercials that leave you with the impression that this is real footage, terrifying images of ghosts, and that this is something that will have you screaming long after Halloween. None of this happens.

What does happen is the terror of the "what if factor." You wonder, "What if this really happened to me? What would I do?" If you remember the Nightmare on Elm Street film series, you'll also remember that the films were never truly scary or innovative with special effects. What hooked you in was the idea that you were powerless against someone who could invade your dreams and kill you. The same is true about Paranormal Activity. It will leave you disappointed in general, but once you go to bed at night you will find yourself sleeping next to the wall or making sure your foot doesn't hang out of the bed for fear of being dragged down the hallway by a demon just as Katie was in the movie.

In fact, the only people who will get their money's worth are those who have truly experienced the paranormal at some point in their lives. This will bring back the reality of that nightmare for you. When the demon drags the sheets off of Katie and drags her all over the house you won't be able to settle your stomach. In fact, I would skip out on the nachos and hot dogs at the concession stand. You may feel queasy from the unsteady camera angles or your personal fear of the paranormal. I must take note of the fact that the unsteady, Blair Witch camera effects seem to stabilize as the movie nears the end. It's as if the filmmakers wanted to make sure you were paying attention then. If the paranormal is real to you, if you don't need horror effects to be frightened, this movie is the scariest movie you will have seen to date. Otherwise, save your money and wait on one of the up and coming horror movies.

Red's Blood Rating: 2 out of 5 stars - Misleading advertising, poor storyline, poor special effects, still worth watching for some and owning on DVD.

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