PARANORMAL ACTIVITY THE REVIEW: INTERNET HYPE STRIKES AGAIN
Xiphos’ rating: 1.75 out of 4 Changs
I had directed the IT nerds here to download a few movies for next week’s Halloween/End of Deployment shindig. I gave them a couple of suggestions (mainly things I wanted to watch) and sent them off on their mission. I was surprised when the chief nerd managed to find Paranormal Activity. She was very proud of herself for this and I agree, she did a good job.
For various work related reasons I was up late the other night and decided to watch PA because I didn’t want to wait. After finishing the movie and letting it sit for a day or so I decided to do a quick review free of almost all spoilers except at the end and it will be heavily marked. So with that, away we go.
There was much that was good in PA. I just found it to not be as good as the Internet hype made it out to be, but then again, has anything ever been as good as the geeks make it out to be? Geeks have no sense of proportion and for that matter, good taste. Here’s what I thought was good in PA.
For a low budget movie it was well made. They didn’t rely on jumps to make you squirm, the eeriness that the movie evoked in me was organic to the script. The small amount of special effects used were done well. Below are some specifics I would like to point out.
1. The use of a hand held camera to tell the story. It’s the first time I think this device worked in a movie. It added a nice sense of tension to scenes and it made the last minute of the movie work.
2. The actors were well cast, did good work in their roles and most importantly looked like regular people that could live next door to you.
3. I would like to give special mention to Katie Featherston who played “Katie” (which is a convention in movie writing I find somewhat annoying.) She was very effective in showing the emotional and physical degeneration of her character. Also, she has a great set of juggs which is more important than her acting skills.
4. The writing was decent at least the dialogue was decent.
Here’s where PA derails for me and knocks it off the geek pedestal down to what I think is its true level, that of a slightly above average horror movie with limited rewatchability.
Side bar here: PA gets mucho respect from me for not being torture porn. It’s obvious that the writer has no more then the usual issues with women and that he’s not actively misogynistic and full of biblical wrath towards the fairer gender which is what torture porn movie writers seem full of.
I will state for the record that I am not the target demographic for this movie. I don’t believe in any form of paranormal garbage. That doesn’t mean I can’t suspend my disbelief and enjoy a well crafted movie about the subject. It just means I’m not inherently disposed to immediately buying into it.
Also I think since I watched this on a computer and alone, it might have taken some energy out of the movie that might have been present if I watched it with an audience. So disclaimers done, lets look at what I think the main problems PA had.
1. The Character’s motivations. They were dumb and frankly they were such a blatant manipulative maneuver that it took me right out of the movie. Look, I understand that in a movie, in order to keep it going, characters have to make stupid choices that a slightly rational person would not make in the real world. I just found it objectionable as to the amount of dumbness involved and the way it was presented. I’m prepared to forgive a lot in a movie if the way they present dopiness is competent. In PA it wasn’t presented well in my opinion.
2. The Male lead. Good lord was this tool a raving numb nut. The actor was good but the character was stupid and abrasive beyond belief.
*****SPOILER WARNING DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO GO INTO THE MOVIE WITH A PIECE OF INFO THAT COULD LESSEN YOUR ENJOYMENT OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY******
STILL HERE? OK, SPOILERS AHOY!
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
Grabbing your camera every time you hear or see something bizarre going on, and basically being an abusive mate to your girl friend, is a total dick play you putz. Also calling out a demon is not the best thing to do. Obviously the character never studied the field of mathematics called game theory.
****** END OF SPOILERS******
3. The “Psychic” screw this guy. The character was a giant pussy, a jerk off and a liar about “talking” to the dead.
Slight rant here. I fucking hate the “talking to the dead” grifters. Normally my steadfast belief in people getting what they deserve from con men (excluding old people or the truly dumb) is unassailable. It does not apply to the thieves that prey on those still grieving and unable to let go of their deceased love ones. There’s just something so monumentally disgusting about targeting the emotionally defenseless that it makes me violent and ill. Rant over.
4. I know this last one is going to sound dumb but I don’t care. I could not figure out how the hell the two lead characters could afford the house they were living in on one salary and that one is a “day trader”. A two story, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in San Diego with a pool, hard wood floors and a fire place in 2006 would have been going for around $750 large, minimum. It bugged the hell out of me through the whole movie. How the hell could they afford the mortgage?
That’s it, that’s my review, Mahalo!