Posted on 8/16/10 06:24 PM
What can be said about Paranormal Activity that hasn't already been said? Who cares? Here's my review. Spoilers follow.
The film stars two young adults, a boy and a girl, who have been experiencing paranormal activity in their house (like how I worked in the name of the movie? No?..) One day, the male of the house buys a video camera and starts recording everything that happens in the house. He starts filming all the events supposedly caused by the demon by going mobile during the day and placing the camera on a tripod during the night that has a view of their bed and the door that leads to the outside hallway. Throughout the movie, the haunting get progressively worse, and by the end... something happens.
First off, this movie is hyped to be one of the scariest movies of all time. People glorify that for a measly budget of 15 grand (Wikipedia) they were able to make such a suspenseful and scary movie that doesn't rely on gore or shock to dish out the endless amount of scare. Time to break this apart.
The Rotten Tomatoes consensus claims this movie to be "90 minutes of relentless suspense." So, the first 10 or so minutes is the guy getting the camera, the characters being introduced, and the story of a haunting being introduced. That's hardly suspenseful. The only tense part is when the have a demon investigator come and then he immediately leaves the house after sensing the presence to be too strong. This part may be considered suspenseful because it elevates the harshness of the situation. That's pretty much all of the shock value there is to this movie.
The guy now puts the camera in their room to watch all of the gh- demon's activities during the night. The events continually increase in severity, although it's nothing major until the end. The recording speeds up all through the night until about 1am or so when it returns to normal speed so the presence of the ghost can be seen. This is pretty much warning the viewer that something is about to happen, so it takes all of the shock and thrill away, but of course a movie as suspenseful and scary as this one doesn't have to rely on shock, right?
Now, the haunting begins, which is where the already boring movie starts to go downhill. At first, the door to their bedroom opens while they're asleep. ..So? Is the demon going to kill them in their sleep simply because the door opened? Am I supposed to care about them and fear for them just because the their door opened? No! Next, there are footsteps heard while they are sleeping. So now the shoe-wearing demon is walking around their house. I thought we were supposed to infer this from the fact that there is a presence in the house. It's not like the demon would sit around all day and haunt them. He has to move around to do it. Unless, the movie is telling us that the demon wears shoes that could make that noise, which I doubt because there is noting scary about shoes.
They then place a white powder in the doorway of their room as an invitation for the ghost to visit them again. Of course, the ghost walks on it and leaves a footprint doing exactly what I said above: confirming he wears shoes. When they hear footsteps, the girl assumes that something is in the house, despite the whole last week of her life focusing on a demon in her house. I guess she didn't know that demons wore shoes. Then, as in every cliche ghost movie, something goes bump in the night. Been there, done that.
(Geez this is getting long) Eventually, the demon starts getting aggressive and drags her down the hall. I can see how some people may find this scary, but she wasn't put into any physical danger. And what's with the bite marks? Is this demon a vampire now?
The most perceived suspenseful moment happens as she goes into the hall to investigate a noise, or I think. It seems to be the most logical reason. She walks down the hall and into a small room where the door to the attic leads. The girl has a slow and "suspenseful" walk to the attic. What's so suspenseful about it? Is the demon going to come out of nowhere and stab her? Is she going to just fall down and die? If that's the case, what's so suspenseful? It could happen at any moment, not just when she reaches the attic. Maybe, she'll spontaneously combust. After all, plenty of people spontaneously combust each year, it's just not widely reported. She reaches the attic and fearfully climbs up the ladder to reveal a burnt picture of herself. The ghost must really have a bone to pick with her, which makes you think what she did all those years ago. It's a burnt photo, who cares? Is the ghost foreshadowing what he is going to do to her? If so, he should just do it. It beats watching the movie.
Ah yes, one more point. The Ouija board catching on fire. This ghost sure has a thing with fire. The ghost burns the board because he like being left alone I'm guessing since that is its only purpose. Why wouldn't they be able to talk directly to it? It can grab them, convey noises, and mess with their stuff, yet they can't talk to it unless they have a Ouija board?
Then there are the multiple ending because the film creators can't make up their minds. I personally saw the one where she killed the guy and was killed by the police. Spoilers, by the way. This is the least bad of all of the ending, as I hear them on paper. The one where she smiles and cuts her throat could either be good or bad depending on how it's played out. I'd have to watch it, which I'm not going to do. The ending might have been better if she was doing something other than rocking back and forth. One, it must get boring, even for a ghost. Two, it looks stupid and is not scary/ creepy whatsoever. The knocking the camera over is plain stupid.
To anyone reading this- you are a patient soul.
Final Grade: 1/5