Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Paranormal Activity

When a flick gets press that says it’s the scariest film ever or shows audiences jumping and screaming in terror I am skeptical. And so it was with Paranormal Activity. I was so unimpressed I waited until it was on DVD to see it. After watching the first half and seeing where it was going, especially as I was alone in the house that night, I waited until the next day to watch the rest. Yeah, the hype and the potential fright did that, but it wasn’t necessary.

I was expecting tricks and stunts and blood and gore. I got none of that. I was full-on expecting that YouTube trick of the picture that doesn’t move and the friend who keeps saying "keep watching" only to have something jump out at you toward the end. I got none of that.

What I did get was actually a pretty coherent horror movie. And not any blood or gore either. This was an old-fashioned it’s-what-you-don’t-see type thriller. And when you do see stuff, man oh man. This was good. I can’t believe how good it was.

This was a great first effort from first time writer/director Oren Peli, and the acting, while stiff at times was more than adequate in bringing us into their world via a handheld camera. Nowhere near as shaky as you would think, and this is no gimmicky Blair Witch Project either. It’s just straight forward what it appears to be.

The acting of the two principals was so good at some points I was yelling at them. And this is a weak point in all horror flicks of a certain type. If you hear a noise downstairs – one you are sure is not a burglar… wouldn’t you turn on the lights so you could see better? Granted, if you don’t know, grab a bat and keep the lights off – but if you’re looking for your possibly kidnapped by supernatural forces girlfriend, don’t depend on the camera for a light source. Turn on the damn lights!

I don’t hold out much hope for the big budget sequel due out this Halloween, but the original is legitimately scary and recommended. Watch it with the lights on.

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