Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paranormal Activity

I like this poster because I want to remind people that when this movie came out, it was a big deal.  People may hate on this series now, but when it hit the horror movie festivals, people were screaming and running in the aisles.  Big, strong, macho guys I worked with were so scared after they saw this movie that they slept with the lights on for a week.  It was THAT freaky to people.  I actually haven't watched this movie since I bought the DVD and watched it the first time, because it scared me so badly that I was messed up for a week afterward, too, and I really didn't want to relive that experience.  I popped it in with trepidation today.  Would it hold up or would it really suck, thus letting me down for being a "one-trick pony"?

The movie is about a woman and her boyfriend who've recently moved in together and they've noticed some strange and possibly supernatural phenomena in their house.  The boyfriend wants to investigate, so he buys a camera to set up in their bedroom to record all night and see if he can catch anything happening on camera so he can study it and maybe figure out what it is and how to stop it.  The woman has had some phenomena like this happen to her before, in fact we learn it has happened a few times throughout her life, and a supernatural expert they invite into their home posits the idea that this isn't a ghost they are dealing with, it is a demon, a non-human entity bent on destruction, and it probably wants to take the woman's soul.  The boyfriend is skeptical of this at first, but as the scary events escalate, the pair become more and more convinced that something terrible is stalking them and it will harm them if they don't put a stop to it.

This movie definitely has a "slow build."  By that I mean it was almost boring at times, because I was waiting for something to happen.  I think it's because I watched part 3 first, and while that's technically chronological, I don't think it's such a good idea.  In part 3, you learn a lot of stuff, so it feels like going backward in part 1, even if the events happened years later.  There's a lot of character development going on in part 1, quiet moments where we get to know Micah and Katie, the couple with the strange events happening to them, and I appreciated it the first time I watched the movie, but this time I kept wanting the movie to get on with it.  I think if I do a future marathon viewing of these movies, I'll just watch them in the order in which they were released.

Once things get going, they really get going, and I felt really bad for these two.  the movie also does a good job of answering the question of why they don't just leave the house: it wouldn't help.  The demon wants Katie, and it will follow her if they try to escape.  I also just watched the third movie before this one, and in that one, they DO try to leave the house, and it doesn't help.  The scares in this movie feel a little bland after seeing the scares in part 2, which is further proof that I need to watch the movies in a different order next time.  the third one had bigger spectacle because it kind of needed to after building audience expectations with two movies before it.  This one is quieter.  The movie still felt creepy though, and I can see why it affected me so badly after I first saw it.  The idea of a demon attaching to a person and following her throughout life, and getting more violent after she tries to communicate with it (which a lot of people will tell you to do to get rid of a demon, tell it to leave, but here the movie says that will just piss it off more).  It's creepy and it hold up better than I thought it would, so I was happy.

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