Oct 23, 2009



I’m not a fan of horror movies, but the appealing story about the making of this movie, plus the lure of popcorn, drew me to it. Apparently it cost only $15,000 to film Paranormal Activity, and with two little-known actors, it was shot at the director’s house in a week. Yet it appears to be a significant box office success.

As for technique, Paranormal Activity should almost be obliged to footnote Blair Witch Project and the handheld camera, the supposedly homemade movie, the accidental horror film. Ditto a debt to Cloverfield. I was more impressed by both of those earlier trials with the premise of accidental movie-making.

But Paranormal Activity brings a couple of new twists and turns, and I especially applaud the absence of disembowelments and other Wish I Were in Med School slicing and dicing, as well as the au courant requirement of vomit as a principal means of character revelation.

In a similar vein, the characters look like real people rather than Hollywood mannequins—the six-pack and his stick girl. The rising action takes a little too long, but that’s partly because we’re seeing the proverbial young couple next door. We need to know and like them even as their flaws unfold and they become less proverbial.

Paranormal Activity did scare me to yelping a couple of times, and I guess that’s important in a horror movie. Maybe it’s downright remarkable without innards and regurgitation.

Still, I learned little, except for the technique, which promises more than it delivers in terms of insight into Everywoman and her man. I didn’t find important human conflicts illuminated, and in the end, I didn’t care as much about the characters as I did in the more realistic first half-hour.

But I’m glad that a truly “little” and superficially interesting movie is doing well. The popcorn was good, I wouldn’t have done anything more constructive in that hour and a half, and a week later that young couple is visually clear in my memory, if not especially important to my heart or psyche.

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Brenda's Arizona said...

Enjoyed your review. I, too, have heard a lot about this movie, and I've wondered if it was a Blairwitch movie wannabe.

Banjo52 said...

Hi, Brenda, and thanks. It's easy to dismiss it as wannabe, but I think it manages to be its own work.

My larger problem is suspecting it could have remained a realistic (should I put quotation marks around that?) character study, deserving to be taken seriously by all, not just horror fans. I think that bothers me more than any charge that it's too derivative.

Anonymous said...

Hey, at least it brought the two of you together.

Atul said...

Hi, i had watched this movie and i think its a good movie , the things is that movies like paranormal activity are not for everyone, some like it , some not. ! see me , i also had got download paranormal activity movie

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