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PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is THE most popular movie of the year and will
ultimately be regarded as one of the best horror movies of all time.
Therefore, PA has warranted a HUGE debate on whether it sucks or not.
Under this pretense, I have divided this review into 3 sections: 1 for the things in the movie that work, 1 for the things that don't, and 1 for the summation.
1. Originality - not a cheap knockoff or a member of Hollywood's non-stop horror remake/reboot wave. That is a game winner right there! Comparable to the Blair Witch Project, PA has received a lot of flack as being a rip off of BWP. Taken into consideration, the film's only real similarity to BWP is the use of home camera/1st person footage, and non-professionals inducing reactions from the supernatural world. That said, you have to answer yourself a question: Would you rather see another Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, or a completely original off-BWP type film?
2. Suspense and Tension - the film does not rely on cheap scares and loud noises deafening you to induce the desire reaction of fear. Nor does it have the smallest fraction of gore/sex/exploitation compared to most of today's horror movies. If you prefer horror movies that usually don't stick with you and follow you out of the theater, then skip it by all means. The film gives you a few inches, and leaves your imagination to finish the mile.
A suggestion on viewing the film: If you want to get the most out of Paranormal Activity, then DO NOT see it in the local theater on a Friday night. We all know what happens when you are in a theater with middle and high school kids during a horror movie. To fully immerse yourself in the movie, see it with your significant other, by yourself, or with just a couple of friends at a time when the theater is the least crowded. Try to see it at night, or at home in the dark. This film invades the sanctity of one's bedroom, and the old tactic of pulling the covers over your head doesn't work.
3. Special Effects - even on a small budget, the film provides some very impacting scenery. Some effects are blatantly obvious, and some of the best effects are actually the most subtle.
4. Acting - the movie is well acted considering it is full of unknowns. The characters are not obnoxious like most horror movie protagonists. They appear genuine and very convincing in most of the film. But in some scenes, not so much. More below.
5. Plot - there is a pleasant (oxymoron) surprise with the direction the film went regarding the source of the phenomena. It's not your typical ghost or haunted house story. I will not embellish on this as it will spoil the movie for those who haven't or are deciding to see the movie.
******THE NOT SO GOOD***********************
1. Writing - this is actually a 50/50 split. The 'supernatural' scenes are very convincing considering the subject matter, whether scripted or improvised. However, the dialog and character motivation/action during the 'down time' is unrealistic at times. This is a large complaint by those who didn't like the movie. Although the film is a large departure from teen filled slasher movies, the characters at times seem to be just as brainless as the teens getting whacked by Jason. There is a lot of "WHY DIDN'T THEY JUST....?" scenes in the movie.
2. Acting - like the writing, the acting seems to suffer in the 'down time'. Fortunately, during the important (scary) scenes, the acting is spot-on, and very convincing. However, you might be taken out of the movie when the protagonists are interacting with each other during the in-between scenes, and the authenticity of their relationship is questionable in some parts.
3. Scenery - granted that the whole movie is filmed in or on the characters' house, the static viewpoint of the camera gets a little boring. With all the phenomena going on, it would have been refreshing to see things from a different angle, especially in the bedroom. Fortunately, this doesn't hinder the movie, just a minor complaint.
******AS A HORROR FAN***********************
Follow the suggestions above regarding with who, where and how to watch the movie. Seen under the right circumstances, and with the right state of mind, the film can be very effective, and having you looking over your shoulder when you turn out all the lights in the house, and crawl into bed. For this reason, I fully endorse this movie as a new member of the horror family. Fresh and original, the movie deserves all of the attention it is getting.
Let this be a glaring message to Hollywood that originality is still the craved for in the movie industry. Horror fans have grown tired of having their favorite classics butchered and pointlessly remade. Directors and producers do not deserve revenue for just upping the violence and sexual gratification of old horror movies.
The film's success is also a great indication that as a population, movie goers respond better to thought provocative subjects than mindless in-your-face cannon fodder. It relieves me to some degree to see that tension-fear based horror movies still have the chance to take the cake. Especially on such a small budget.
Well Done, producers, directors, and actors. 8/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
That's right! I cant sleep now... because instead of sleeping i am
sitting here pondering what could be going thru peoples minds who
actually commented good on this movie.
Seriously one star is too much. I wish I could vote in the negatives. In fact I created this account just to write about this movie.
For starters I didn't buy into all the hype... why, because I just recently heard about this movie. I didn't hear anything good or bad just that it existed. Well I enjoy "scary" movies so figured Id check it out.
Nothing at all was scary. I repeat NOTHING at all was scary! I was bored out of my mind 80% of the film. 19% I was angered at the idiot boyfriend or the retarded GF. Seriously, Someone here said that they reacted realistically to the situations. What is wrong with you! The woman acted as if she just wanted to ignore everything and hoped it went away... yet claimed it had been happening since she was 8. They guy on the other hand pretended he had the slightest clue as to what he was doing. "I GOT A PLAN" as he sprinkles baby powder on the floor... WTH did he think that was going to do... show him something/someone was there.. Hadnt that already been established by that point of the "film"? Where was the plan? He threatens the "ghost/demon" what ever the heck it was as if hes going to fight it... Really!? The only time the acting was good is... well never mind because it wasn't ever good. OK at best during the many arguments that took place in the film.
Oh I forgot to mention the other 1% of the film...well that was the "scary" parts. First. The Ouija board scene... scary? NO! Interesting or cool perhaps but far from scary.
Second. Doors slamming... um, perhaps I would've been scared when I was 6 but come on is this really what people find scary about this movie? Third. The girl getting dragged out of bed... perhaps the most scary scene in the movie as well as the best done scene. However it still wasn't really scary... WHY? Because just like every other nite the camera is sped up and then just before anything happens it goes back to normal speed... Completely ruining any chance for suspense or fright... not to mention how it slowly grabs her leg and gently pulls her out of bed...
Fourth, The powder foot steps... so are we afraid of the easter bunny as well? That may be scary in a real life situation, however in the movie it was just lame and boring...
Id enjoyed it more if there were a point to it all.. which I never did see... there was no real story line. Girl haunted by ghost since shes 8 follows her around.. bf pisses ghost off... both end up dead. THE END! Majority of the time were watching them sleep... wth is so scary about that!? Fast forward thru the sleep scene around 3ish each night... ghost does something "spooky" cut to next morning... "OMG look the door closed! Granted if this were to happen to me in real life id need a box of adult diapers however... this is a movie and watching it on film... just isn't scary in the least. Its boring, drawn out (much like my post), comical(and not just the scenes that were meant to be) and well anything BUT scary.
On a positive note... I didn't waste any money on the film =] for that reason and that reason alone I guess it deserves my 1 star.
I've seriously come to the conclusion that all the positive comments left about this movie were made by family or friends of the people involved... I wouldn't be surprised if the director didn't sit down create 100+ accounts and leave all the comments himself as a publicity scam.
I think that a crime has been committed here... and I only hope and pray that no one else has to be victimized by this horrendous film!
oh and to cadillack ... ROFL! your kidding right? To me you sound like a case of the pot calling the kettle black
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Paranormal CRAPTivity is a great idea. I was so psyched to see it, but
it doesn't play out. The marketing got me and a lot of other butts in
the seats and I say good for the filmmaker, he made this piece of crap,
sat on it for years, was told by everyone it was crap and they couldn't
sell it, then along came Spielberg and finds the marketing angle, Let's
pull a Jackass but show the audience terrified instead of laughing. I
just wish they had a better movie to begin with.
Anyone who has had to canvas a house knows you turn on every light in every room you pass as you explore the room.
When a noise is heard he has the presence of mind to grab the camera turn on it's light but not bother to flip on the stair lights on his way down?
When you exit the couples bedroom there is a room on the left that was NEVER entered. The door is open, but they just walk past it.
At another point he exits the bedroom and b-lines for the far left room without turning on any lights?
When he looks in the attic his only light was the camera light, he then gives her the camera so he can explore the dark attic, HE HAS NO LIGHT???
Why wouldn't he want to call the Demon dude? Why would she be against the camera? Their motives are questionable.
If I have a camera on us and I find the misses outside in the cold (AND she doesn't remember it), I'm checking the footage the following day to see what time she got up. That's when I see her standing there. I'm thinking this chick is gonna kill me, and I'm calling her mother or her sister.
Another thing, they don't have a 9-5 job, why not stay up all night?
Top 10 things to do when things go bump in the night.
10. Grab the camera turn its light on but don't bother to flick a light switch when you pass it.
09. Give only light source back to girl and find photo in pitch black attic.
08. Don't examine tape when girl sleep walks. If you do don't worry that she's standing over you for 3 hours.
07. When you get phenomenal footage of your girl getting drug to another room, do nothing with the footage and spend another night in the room.
06. When your girl has a mysterious bruise/bite don't bother taking her to the ER. You probably don't have insurance anyway, this isn't Canada after all.
05. Don't bother to get a dog for protection. Despite the cat statue on the fireplace, you hate animals anyway.
04. Take a big interest in girl's demon, but refuse to call demon guy, you're too rich to afford that.
03. Find footsteps on floor and get great footage of it, but don't call media or police.
02. Make sure the 'chosen one' sleeps next to the open door. NEVER offer to trade spots with her or lock the door.
01. Don't Google anything until act three, research is a waste of time.
00. Keep the hardwood floors clean, because the most interesting thing about the movie was when I turned to the wife and said, "Those are nice floors," and she said, "I was thinking the same thing."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
98% of the movie was completely LAME! The plot sucked, the acting
sucked, and the camera movement was exaggerated and made me want to
Throughout the entire movie I was hoping and praying that there was going to be something scarier that would happen. This is the entire movie summed up for you.
Something weird happening to the girl..the start recording themselves to see if they catch footage or weird things happening..they hear a noise..they go to sleep..the door opens...they go to sleep...something moves downstairs..they go to sleep..something bangs on the walls..they go to sleep..something breaths..they go to sleep..finally something a little bit scary happens..the movie ends...oh ya and at one point a demon with hooves leaves three footprints on the floor.
There was a scene that gave the plot a little bit of hope. They hear noises one night and find out that their attic has been opened. The bf goes upstairs and find a picture. The picture ends up being a picture of the gf when she was little and part of the picture is burned off. oOoOoOoOoo. then the plot going back to the same thing. When that scene happened i was thinking, "oh o.... looks like it might start getting interesting". Then all of my hopes were smashed as the plot less plot continued.
I felt very angry when the movie ended because I feel it was a sham and a rip-off. The whole "vote the movie into a theater near you" was a huge hoax they pulled to hype up the movie. I bet you the director and creators of this movie were laughing their asses off as people were blindly walking into the theater and throwing away their hard earned money. They must be profiting madly because these people must have only used about 75k for the creation of this movie.
Also I do not know what is going thru peoples minds that think this was an incredible movie. I read someones comment that this was just as good as the exorcist. These people must be paid bloggers because nobody in their right mind would ever think that about this movie.
To make matters worse I paid 19 dollars to watch this movie with my gf. We both agreed that even Drag me to Hell was better (I think Drag Me To Hell sucks by the way). I gave Drag me to Hell a 3 because it had a few scary/creepy scenes.
If its free then go watch it. If somebody is inviting you, then decline this movie and go watch something else. Trust me you wont regret it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not one part of the movie scared me. Production values are obviously
not there on purpose, and the movie feels cheap the entire way through.
I went in expecting a lot from this movie based on user and critic
reviews and I was very disappointed.
The story is basic and makes little sense when trying to tie back to another storyline about a girl named "Diane." The entire movie is about a couple teasing a demon until they tick him off enough to kill and possess the people inhabiting the house.
Cheaply made movie that looks and feels cheaply made with a corny, stereotypical storyline thats been done multiple times. The movie left me with nothing when it was done. Don't waste your cash.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not only is this gem-of-an-indie-film, 'Paranormal Activity' the
scariest movie I have ever seen, it is the most horrifying experience I
have ever been a part of.
'Paranormal' begins when a young man purchases a camera to record the paranormal phenomena that his live-in girlfriend has been reporting to have been experiencing. His purchase of the camera is out of naivety, and we soon find out he is more interested in electronics than the strange occurrences that seem to be haunting his partner. As the film progresses, the ghostly happenings become more and more apparent and intensify while the hand-held camera documents them and the terror of the young couple.
The genius, center, heart, and terror of this film lie in the realism of the performances. The actors who portray the couple are so convincing and so natural, you feel as if you are watching an actual homemade video. They do not follow the usual "shaky-cam movie" model of acting in which the performances often try so hard to be "real" that they are over-done and come off as a cheap imitation of as what is assumed would be somebody else's reaction to that scenario. Contrary-wise, we believe as an audience, that "Paranormal"'s characters are true to themselves, and the decisions they make and the things they say are true expressions of how the actors themselves would feel if they had been placed in the same situation. Thus, instead of feeling like you are watching actors in a movie portraying someone else, you feel as if are watching two actual people in an actual haunting scenario. You recognize that everything they say and do would be an actual reaction you could imagine yourself giving in response to that scenario. This produces an extremely uneasy effect in which you cannot escape out of their terror-filled world because you feel, yourself, that you are in it. There-in lies the key to this brilliant film.
The other key is the agonizing, yet wonderful uses of suspense and the imagination. The director does not assume his audience is a dull, thoughtless bunch, dependant on gore, sex, and explosions to be thrilled. Rather, in true Hitchcockian fashion, he fully utilizes the concept that imagining the "man with the axe" is far more terrifying than seeing the "man with the axe." We are forced to constantly think about what we just experienced. In some cases, blink, and you will miss something. Subliminal shocks are everywhere, so not only are your conscious senses attacked, your psyche is brutally terrorized. This makes, in one instance, viewing a completely empty room in dead silence for 30 seconds or more turn out to be one of the most horrifying scenes in the entire film. If you think about, just seeing an empty, silent room does not seem scary at all, but there-in lies the genius of this film: That something that simple can scare you down to the deepest core of emotion.
If you've read any of the other reviews for 'Paranormal Activity', you will notice almost all of them mention that a viewer will not be able to sleep after watching it. I will make my review one of them. You will not sleep if you see this movie. Not only is it terrifying, it's thought-provoking. Then when you think about it, you are terrified all over again. Don't believe me? Go ahead, watch it. I dare you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, I always writing reviews about movie which totally amazed me and
I don't waste my time writing about some bad movie. But this movie is
exception because I'm must say it's way too popular this days and I had
a feel that I must react somehow. On the cover of movie we can see tag
lines like 'scariest movie of the year or decade'. I think it's a too
funny or some sort of commercial trick.
This movie is only scary for the population under the age of 14 or 16, or if you never watched horror movie or just a few ones, or maybe because you're are too sensitive or fearful. The similar movies like Blair Witch project, Rec, Quarantine etc are hundred times scarier and better. Even the you-tube videos about paranormal things are way too scarier than this.
If you're always hated the stupid paranormal videos from you tube and was angry about your wasting a couple of minutes of your life, then this movie will totally irritate and you will have a will to kill someone. I watched this with no expectation of effects, action, deep screenplay and other things. All I wanted and expecting was a just a little creepy atmosphere and dozen of chilling scenes. The most shocking thing about this movie was a just a huge IMDb rating. Maybe this sounds funny but it was true.
Movie timing is around an 90 minutes, only 2 minutes at total was scary, like dragging girl body from the bed or footsteps of the ghost or what there was.There's some very confusing and unconvincing things in this movie.
After the ghost attacked and wounded a girl (I forgot her name because she was such a bad role), male character rejecting for call help. Oh my god, is he retarded or what? He really thinks that demon or ghost will just passed away and leave them. Not forget mention that dialogs are bored and scenes are too repetitive and there's no tension in it. You just watching when this movie finally finish to see what is whole point of this video. This is not movie in particular, it's just a long video stuff.
I recommend this movie to all people who don't care about waste of their time. Maybe you will enjoy this but I think you are the same as the guy in the movie. I didn't like Blair Witch Project either, but now I fell it's a masterpiece compare to this. Avoid this movie, go and see the trailer and you see it all there is. Cheers.
First of all I must say, living in Belgium, I have the benefit of not
being caught up in the hype machine. I'm sure if I were living in the
States, I too would be numb to the affects of this film.
I would imagine being in a crowded cinema would take away from the intimacy of the scares. I watched this alone on my couch in the comforts of my own home cinema. I am a huge horror fan, not just a gore hound, though I do enjoy some good gore f/x from time to time, but most of all I love a good scare...which is rather hard to come by. Films that have scared me are, The Changeling, The Innocents, The Ring, Inside (A L'Interior), The Brood, Blair Witch... I'm not easily scared, but given the circumstances in which I watched PARANORMAL ACTIVITY I was quite tense.
This film is a lot like Blair Witch, Cloverfield in the use of the home camera, but the way in which the characters in PARANORMAL approach their situation is rather realistic and believable. The characters are like normal people, not Hollywood types. The acting is fine and the characters are fun and likable. The only thing I had a problem with (as far as believability) was the exorcism footage they looked at on the net.
Maybe I would have been disappointed if I had driven half an hour to the closest English language cinema to see this film when it comes out in December. I love going to the cinema for the great image and sound quality. I wouldn't want to watch AVATAR for the first time at home. But PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is the film to watch at home with as few people and distractions as possible. It's not groundbreaking or amazing, but it works and it's good. I applaud the filmmakers for sending some chills down my spine. Thanks.
Lower those expectations and enjoy the ride.
A couple decide to document their nights while they sleep, after they
hear strange noises that they believe to be a haunting.
I respect this film, for the fact that it was shot for less than 20,000, had absolutely no marketing campaign and has become a huge success based on word of mouth and the audience demanding to see it. If only other studios would follow suit and listen to people demanding to see movies they want to see, maybe there wouldn't be so much crap out there.
Paranormal Activity is shot like Cloverfield, Blair Witch Project, REC, Cannibal Holocaust, etc. If any of those films gave you motion sickness, you might want to skip this one. Half the film is shot while they sleep, so the film is on a tri-pod, the other half is them walking around with it. So if you've never been a fan of those films, skip this one. Second, the film is not as scary as people make it out to be. Instead, it is one creepy and suspenseful film, that seeing in a theatre, only heightened my enjoyment of it.
The audience I went with, all had a collective "Oh My God". I could hear it every time something creepy happened. You could literally feel everyone in the theatre holding their breath every time they went to sleep. Again, if you are the type of person who wants to watch a film and not hear a peep out of anyone else, skip this film.
Now the film itself, shot in one week, small (very small) budget and every penny of it went towards the special effects. The special effects are what sell the film, if you don't buy them, the film will not creep you out. They looked real and impressive enough to push the film into a successful goal, which is to scare people. If you are already afraid of the dark, this film will not help you. Every creek, thump, noise you hear in your house will now have you thinking twice.
Less is more, The Blair Witch Project uses this, as does Paranormal Activity. The two leads, are haunted by a demon, one we never see, only hear. Whenever you go into a horror film, as a kid you would close your eyes in fear. Big mistake, because it's the ears you need to be covering. The sound is what makes you jump, hear nothing, fear nothing. The sound design behind this film is what is scary people, accompanied by the visuals (memorable scenes with the powder and bed sheets).
As the film progresses, the haunting gets worse. I don't want to give anything away, and I urge you to not watch the trailer. I watched the trailer and was waiting for those things to happen, it took away from the general fear. Not knowing what to expect will make this film that much better, that much creepier and that much more entertaining. I didn't expect it to be as funny as it was either, the lead male had some comic relief dialogue, the ease the tension.
The couple are believable, the hand held camera angle works here and the fear will set in. I applaud Paranormal Activity, for not only becoming an unheard of success, but for being one of the creepiest films I've ever seen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me begin by praising those who marketed this film. My favorite myth
is the one about how Spielberg (one of the producers) was given a DVD
but couldn't finish watching it in his own home because he was too
I GUARANTEE that I wouldn't be surprised if nearly every positive review on this site is part of the marketing campaign. I further GUARANTEE that I wouldn't be surprised if the advertisements you have seen of audiences cowering in fear contain at least some "shills" - - paid audience members. I further GUARANTEE that you yourself will almost certainly be bored out of your mind and wonder, during every single frame: WTF? Now to briefly describe the film: A boring couple sets up a camera in their boring house and when they look at the footage of what occurs in their sleep, they hear strange noises, see their bed cover lift as if someone had farted, see footprints made of talcum powder on their hardwood floor, see the woman sleep walk and stand next to the bed for two hours, and see a Ouija board catch fire.
That's pretty much it. Not only that, my telling of it is more compelling than what you would have seen in the theater. Now you owe me 11 bucks.
I saw it in a packed theater at 930 pm -- an ideal audience at an ideal time. No one jumped. No one shrieked. Hell, at one point I wondered whether anyone in the theater was even awake. I know I barely was. This movie will make an EXCELLENT case study for classes in marketing.
All I ask and pray is this: LORD, if you hear me, if indeed you exist, please don't let this director ascend through the ranks of Hollywood. Because if he is given a big budget to make a "real" film, there will be one more no-talent director flooding our theaters with crap.
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