Posts tagged ‘Paranormal Activity’

Paranormal ActivityIt’s Halloween time and Hallywood…err, Hollywood…is bringing out a spate of “scary” movies to frighten those dollars out of our wallets. Just recently I went to see Paranormal Activity at the local cineplex. Among the previews was The Fourth Kind, which I haven’t seen but pretty much looks like Paranormal Activity but with a bigger budget (bigger budget meaning they hired Milla Jovovich instead of some smelly no-name actor). I’ll be honest and preface this by saying I don’t usually get scared by scary movies. And I’ll get into why, but first let me get into why Paranormal Activity was such a yawn-fest.

First of all, the first 30 minutes of the film was basically a home video of some smarmy San Diego couple Micah and Katie being all couply with Micah being a gadget freak while Katie tolerates it because as she meticulously explains (and I’m paraphrasing here) he’s so cute. After about 30 minutes, I was really hoping one of them would die a grisly death. Then we see footage of them while they’re asleep (which even when time-lapsed seems way too fucking long). What do we get? Strange noises. Then the next morning we get more couple-time. Then more sleep time. This time a door moves. Oooooohhhh! Repeat with each iteration being more bizarre and unbelievable. And I’m referring to the couple time: “Oh, Micah, even though you’ve done everything I’ve expressly told you not to do, I’m going to tolerate you anyway because you’re oh so cute.” By the end, some weird shit happens and then it ends. Fuck me and the $11 I spent.

So Paranormal Activity represents the latest incarnation of shockumentary style horror films including Blair Witch Project. Basically, they’re meant to seem more realistic and thus scarier, but in reality they’re just low-budget movies wrapped in big-budget marketing. If anything, the insane profit margin is what’s scary. But for the most part, they go use realistic tactics to get under your skin: weird noises, unexplainable movements, fuzzy shots. They attempt to poke at our primal defenses…imagine Homo habilis sitting alone in the woods filled with wild animals.

But going back to horror films in general, you have to sort of laugh. I remember watching Candyman when I was a kid and wondering how much fake blood was wasted for this production. When you think about it, most horror films are based on a premise that you have to accept as scary. When you don’t, they lose all their power.

  • The Exorcist was basically about a little girl that said a lot of mean things.
  • The Shining was about when boredom and alcoholism are mixed.
  • Friday the 13th is about how stupid teenage girls are.
  • Carrie is about how stupid teenage girls are.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre taught us that only nutjobs live in Texas (as well as the last administration — ZING!).
  • The Omen was about how creepy young boys can be.
  • Jaws was about shark attacks — SHARK ATTACKS!
  • The Ring taught us all that plot holes can be scary too.

I could go on, but I won’t. Really at the end you just have to say to yourself: It’s only a movie — a really, really stupid movie.

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