FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Sep 25, 2009

Paranormal Activity

The entire world, it seems, is touting Paranormal Activity as the scariest movie in the history of ever, a film so frightening that your eyeballs will defy the laws of science as they up and die from terror-induced heart attacks. There's so much effing hype surrounding this movie that over 4,000 people lined up for a free midnight screening in Los Angeles. Trailers and teasers don't need to show much beyond audience members jumping out of their skin.

Is it worth all the hype? Well, everyone's going to have a different opinion on that, which is why I detest "hype". Movies get talked about and talked about to a point of total saturation; then people actually see the movie and instead of simply enjoying a film for what it is, the criticism becomes about expectations not met. In other words, "Yes it was scary, but my eyeballs didn't have heart attacks as I thought they would and therefore this movie sucks and why do I ever listen to hype?" Sure, we've all experienced movies that turn out to be not quite as good as we'd hoped, but what I'm talking about goes beyond that. I'm talking about people who buy into the hype and walk into a theater with their arms crossed and a "Scariest ever? Then prove it." attitude. How could a movie ever please an audience like that?

So...don't believe the hype. Or rather, don't pay attention to the hype, and don't get your cynical on- after all, everyone's "scariest movie ever" is going to be different. The Exorcist still freaks my shit out beyond belief, but plenty of folks laugh it off. Meanwhile, someone out there, I'm sure, can't sleep at night after a viewing of Child's Play. Diff'rent strokes and all that, you dig?

I went into Paranormal Activity without having read any official reviews and without so much as watching the aforementioned trailers. I didn't want to know anything or see anything: I simply wanted to believe that this movie was going to be really effing scary. Waiting in line last night, my friends and I were bundles of energy, SO READY for this movie, hoping it would be well and truly terrifying.

It is.

Paranormal Activity is a throwback to films such as Robert Wise's The Haunting: it proves that noises and dark corners are all you really need to make a horror movie...well, horrifying. It's amazing what can be accomplished with a well-placed sound effect- your imagination fills in the blanks and the next thing you know, you're holding your breath.

I held my breath a lot during this film. I had goosebumps for minutes on end. I could feel my eyes open as wide as they'd go...then I reverted to my ridiculous childhood defense of squinting, my philosophy being if my eyes were already closed halfway, when something scary happened I could close them all the way much faster. Yes, my eyeballs had heart attacks.

When I got home in the wee hours of the morning, I was glad that my roommate was sleeping soundly not far away, because yes, I would have psyched myself out of sleep. Paranormal Activity plays upon your fear of things that go bump in the night, that feeling in your stomach when you're awakened in the dead of night by a creak in the living room. Watching it alone at night with the lights off seems to me an insurmountable task- even after I've seen it once.

That said, it's certainly not a perfect movie- the end may be a bit problematic for some (though, to be honest, I have no clue what would make a stellar conclusion to it), and there's not a lot to dig into when it's over. However, Paranormal Activity absolutely accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is to scare the shit out of you. Horror movies these days seem to forget that scaring the audience should be, you know, a goal...but not this movie. It's incredibly effective on a primal level and as a fan, I simply could not have been more happy. It was everything I wanted it to be, and I can't wait to see it again...but no, I won't watch it alone.

I don't know, am I feeding into the hype I'm asking you to ignore? Eh. It was really fucking scary, and that's that. If you'd like to judge for yourself, then go to the Paranormal Activity website and demand that it plays in your town, dammit. Small horror movies screening in theaters is always a good thing, right?

71 comments:

Planet of Terror said...

I want to see this so badly my teef hurt. Heart attacking eyeballs? Brilliant!

Carrie said...

I REALLY want to see this movie but I doubt it's going to be in theaters in this dumpy little Idaho town. I hope it gets a DVD release so I can see it. There's just not many "scary" movies that come out these days that are actually scary!

Oh and, yeah, I didn't sleep all night after I saw Child's Play. But what can I say? I was 10.

Kensington said...

Damn it, damn it, DAMN IT!

Links at IMDB had suggested earlier this week that there was going to be a midnight screening in Manhattan last night, AND I FORGOT ABOUT IT!!!

I'm sure this will never ever never live up to the hype, and indeed I've already heard one film critic really smack it down, but I'm completely open to this. I saw The Blair Witch Project with a huge crowd at a midnight screening ten years ago, and it scared the crap out of me.

Too much hype isn't always a bad thing, if you get the timing right, like seeing a film like this with a receptive audience ready to go with it.

Stacie Ponder said...

"I'm sure this will never ever never live up to the hype..."

See, that's what I'm talking about. Buzz and hype create doubters in advance- how COULD it live up to the hype if no one expects it to?

Not saying your guilty of this, but hyped movies not meeting said hype leads to...weirdness and misplaced vitriol. But it gets asses in seats, I suppose...eh.

Head over to My New Plaid Pants to read about the Manhattan screening...sorry you missed it! I hope it comes back!

thomwade said...

I was burned out on hype by the Blair Witch. I could not wait to see that movie. Especially after that creepy ass Curse of the Blair Witch aired on Sci-Fi. That one hour special was so nicely done, I thought, how could the actual film be anything but awesome.

Ahem. What an un-scary and un-creepy film that turned out to be,and just when it started to get interesting? BAM! The camera falls over. Ever since, when I see people hyping films as really scary, I flash back to the Blair Witch and I punch them. Okay. I don't punch them. I am a coward. But I walk off pissed.

So...having ranted about that...might this redeem my faith in hype? ;)

Stacie Ponder said...

Dude, I'm not even touching that one...especially since I love The Blair Witch Project and thought it was terrifying.

I suppose all you can do is take into account reviewers whose tastes align with your own (if you choose to read stuff before seeing the movie)...or, just go into every horror movie saying "Gee, I hope this is scary!" rather than paying attention to the hype. I definitely suggest the latter, as you'll most likely be pleased. Just hope stuff is good and scary.

Kensington said...

Ooh, after reading that link from My New Plaid Pants, I don't think I would have enjoyed the circumstances of that Manhattan screening at all (waiting in line for five hours, douchebag speeches, lousy seating because all the decent seats were reserved for the press, Harry Knowles, etc.).

But as to the matter of hype, even though I'm excited to see this, my expectations are definitely low enough that I won't hold it against the film if it isn't the MOST AMAZING/SCARY/PANTS-CRAPPING HORROR MOVIE EVAH! I'll be happy if it's interesting, somewhat compelling and has a few good moments.

As long as it doesn't suck outright, I'll be happy.

Theron said...

I don't buy into the hype, but I figure where there's smoke, right?

I remember when Blair Witch came out. I got sucked up in to the hype on this new thing called the internet. Was it real? Was it not? Whatev, it was cool. Then I rented it on video and watched all alone on Halloween night, with the lights off. By the time it was done, I was in bed with the covers pulled up to my eyes...and loving it.

And the original version of The Haunting? Scariest movie EVER. The scene with the banging in the hall and the banging on the door and the doorknob turning? The best!

Stacie Ponder said...

For what it's worth, I think comparisons to Blair Witch only tap into the format and surface of things, in that they're both "found footage" movies- otherwise, there's not much they have in common. Paranormal Activity is a haunted house movie, although the culprit(s) aren't necessarily "spectral" or ghosts. It's like, maybe, Blair Witch and The Haunting had a baby, although both of those movies have more going on under the surface than this film does.

I'm with you on The Haunting, Theron...and PA is that bit played out to its most extreme. A real knuckle-biter, for sure!

thomwade said...

"I suppose all you can do is take into account reviewers whose tastes align with your own (if you choose to read stuff before seeing the movie)..."

Of course, what do I do when my tastes normally align? :)

Outside of my inability to get French horror and now this Blair Witch thing... you and JA totally tend to like the same kind of horror I do. :)

thomwade said...

I guess, more for me, "is it an effective ghost story". If it is, I think there is a decent shot of having a good time. From the descriptions, it sounds like it really is a solid ghost story.

But does it star Alice Krige?

BloodPepsi said...

Stacie, as always, you said it better than I ever could. Now I know I should get my own blog if I'm going to ramble on like this, but if you'll allow me, here are my immediate feelings after seeing Paranormal Activity. Not so much about the movie itself, but what will probably happen because of it..

First and foremost, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is a first rate, very effective, and well done horror movie. Despite my disappointment at realizing it's almost impossible for me to be scared by any movie at this point (as well as feeling that watching the trailer probably took a lot away from the movie's effect on me...and yes, the "hype") I thoroughly enjoyed it (though I still wish they had done "more") and it got about as close to scaring me as a movie is going to get. Hey. What are ya gonna do...

..and in a perfect world, when a movie like this (i.e. arguably the best "found footage"-style horror movie that has, and will, come around for years) inevetably gets huge and is considered a huge sleeper-success story, the studios would realize they can't top PA in terms of this sub-genre, but would still be inspired to go forth and invest in more new, inventive and effective horror movies.

Instead, what they WILL do is come out with a slew of far inferior first-person/"found footage" knockoffs, more on the level of the godawful Diary Of The Dead or The Last Broadcast. Hell..it's already been 10 years since Blair Witch Project... about time for another shameless cash-in on one indie film's fluke success.

Thank you, Stacie! Final Girl is still the best horror blog around (HMAD is pretty amazing too)!

Keep up the great work..

-Ben Manners

bwana said...

Looks a lot like the BBC show GHOSTWATCH.

Theron said...

It's all about tension and release. That's a concept that seems lost on most current-day filmmakers.

MrB said...

Wish it was here. If I want horror, I have to go see Love Happens.

Stacy, the giddy joy you derive from these films makes you one of my favorite and most trustworthy reviews.

Anonymous said...

if you liked the movie, you need to see this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOki0eZdmFU

Greg said...

My favorite part of the movie, which no one seems to want to spoil for people thinking about going, is when the actors are running around with the camera. They're all, "OMFGNOIZEZ", to which I respond, "hickBLEH.....zzzzzz...".
That 'hickBLEH', of course, is me feeling horrendously motion sick from the handicam view. The z's that follow are me falling asleep from the Dramamine I took, thinking I'd outsmart the movie. There were lots of z's.

Anonymous said...

The problem with this movie is it was "advertised" so much that people thought it was the scariest movie of the year, but it turns out to be your average movie with added sauce from blair witch project...

anyway, with a 20,000,000 USD BOX office and rising.. I'm sure the 2 geeky directors are more than happy with the results

my sources: Paranormal activity Best or Worst Horror of the Year?

Debosophy said...

Firstly, hahaha @ Greg's comment.

The scariest movie for me (so far) is Quarantine. Don't laugh, but that movie scared the shit out of me but I loved it, too.

I was googling to see what had been said about the movie and I, too, thought it was all a hype thing, but after reading this, I'm going to go see it.

Thanks for a great review.

Stacie Ponder said...

The thing that makes it work so well is that it's about anticipation, not payoff. Folks who need/want to "see something" are likely to be disappointed. This film is all about dread.

I've read plenty of negative reviews, too, so what can you do? It's not a perfect movie or the scariest thing ever, but it really worked for me.

Anonymous said...

I just finished watching this movie with my husband and the first half hour i was skeptical..The moment the thing got physical i was freaking out. IT WAS AWESOME. I hadnt heard any hype about the film except from my friends that said it made them jump in the night a few times (this being guys not girls) so when my husband suggested we watch it i was in. I am a very satisfied viewer. :)

Anonymous said...

I only have two levels of suspension of disbelief... Completely or not at all. This movie was able to pull me in. I found myself near tears a few times. Out of terror. And my power just went out in my dorm... Piss. I think hype is a really great way to stunt your ability to let go bc you become very objective & simply point your eyes at the screen. And screens are typically boring. At least to me anyways.

Peter said...

The movie didn't come across to me as scary. I do believe in paranormal but this was no different than any other Hollywood production. Everything happened at night in low light environments, or when "No One" was around. Computer generated Special Effects are a wonderful assistance to any movie maker. It was moving along very slowly and picked up speed then stopped. To me it was simply, The Blair witch Project meets the Ghost Hunters of TAPS. I guess im either desensitized to Scary movies or Just a cynic, but The movie didnt "SCARE" the wits outta me, I watched it at midnight last night and went straight to bed and not even so much as a twitch in my sleep.
Best of luck to the Next Film maker who makes a movie that the media totes as the Scariest movie Ever Made.

Anonymous said...

I saw it and it scared the shit out of me.
I however did not have a roommate to come home to. I woke up a 3:30 in the morning drenched in sweat b/c i refused to come out from under my blanket. I had the edges tucked in and the only opening was a hole by my mouth for breathing.
Who says u aren't safe under the covers?

MatthewfromIndiana said...

I love scary movies and have decided not to go into dark rooms after watching a particularly freaky flick before(13 ghosts, Haunting in Conneticut, any of the Dead saga), this movie however did not scare me. I sat for the first hour saying to myself and my girlfriend that this is going to get better. There simply wasnt anything that interesting that happened until the last 20 minutes of the movie, then when something finally started happening the movie just ends. I really have no idea why so many people say this is such a great movie. I honestly would have asked for my money back if it was an option. 3/10.

Anonymous said...

I went an saw this on 9/17/09 by myself because my boyfriend is too much of a chicken. Anyways i went by myself and yes i was freaked which is a amazing because i have a high tolerence for "scary" movies. So I do highly recommend this. But you have to keep in mind everybody is different. Everybody has different opinions. So yea. Just go see it since now it is showing every where and make your own judgement on it.

Stacie Ponder said...

Thanks for the comments from all the new faces!

Whether you love this movie or hate it, it's undeniably become a bit of a phenomenon. I'd like to think that that will mean more indie horror will get a chance at theatrical releases, but really it'll probably just translate to plenty of horrible rip-offs. :)

The person above me said it best: everyone's going to react differently, so just keep an open mind and give it a go.

whiteboy said...

I loved Paranormal Activity. I saw Blair Witch when that first came out and it just didn’t do it for me. The whole cinematography part did not impress me, but I found that Paranormal Activity did it right. However some of my friends disagree with me and say that while PA was a good movie, BWP was a much better overall product especially given that it helped to establish a completely new sub-genre. We cant seem to come to terms so I made a little poll to show them what the rest of the world thinks, please take a minute to vote: http://www.dipoll.com/index.php?poll_id=555

Good story finalgirl, love to see all the press that PA is getting with such a small production budget!

Anonymous said...

It was the first movie to scare me in years. Why is everyone worried about hype? Can't you keep track of what you are doing when you watch a movie? Are you thinking about your expectations the whole time you are looking at the screen? It's just a movie. Are you so worried your pleasure level won't be exactly what you predicted. Maybe too much scariness? That might be bad too! Maybe your corn flakes and donuts all that stuff you eat will let you down. Tell me about all of your expectations please. Are they how you predict. Oh I hope so. You stupid americans. Get some fucking licorice and hamburgers or whatever you eat (maybe hotdogs?) and watch a movie. I came on here because I just watched it and I wanted to see how much other people liked it because it was fun. Whoops.

Stacie Ponder said...

Wow.

Kensington said...

You know, I could go for some hamburgers right now, actually...

On the matter of Paranormal Activity rip-offs, I wonder how likely that really is. What were the Blair Witch Project rip-offs? Aside from maybe The Last Broadcast (which might be a fair accusation), I can't think of any. Cloverfield? [Rec]? If that's the kind of "rip-off" we can expect from Paranormal Activity, I can't wait to see them!

Could it be that people discover early on that it's not that easy to rip off something like Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity and give up before they do it badly?

That's probably naive, though, I know. I want a donut.

mark said...

I found this movie on the net and decided to DL it. What a waste of time. Anyone who thinks this movie is scary is a true wimp to say the least. At the end they show a pic of the couple and supposedly they are dead. If this story is non-fiction, then fine.....otherwise it's a joke and simply not worth watching in any lifetime.

mark said...

It was the first movie to scare me in years. Why is everyone worried about hype? Can't you keep track of what you are doing when you watch a movie? Are you thinking about your expectations the whole time you are looking at the screen? It's just a movie. Are you so worried your pleasure level won't be exactly what you predicted. Maybe too much scariness? That might be bad too! Maybe your corn flakes and donuts all that stuff you eat will let you down. Tell me about all of your expectations please. Are they how you predict. Oh I hope so. You stupid americans. Get some fucking licorice and hamburgers or whatever you eat (maybe hotdogs?) and watch a movie. I came on here because I just watched it and I wanted to see how much other people liked it because it was fun. Whoops.

Sorry you socialist european slime. This movie was a joke, and I hate licorice. Keep sterotyping Frenchie, and the next time Germany invades you, I certainly hope the US does NOTHING to save Europe from itself. Hopefully the next time around you arrogant pukes kill each other off finally, so the rest of the world won't have to listen to your whining. Buh-Bye!

Anonymous said...

Yes... a nice departure from "torture porn", a very good film. The "mocumentary" structure is fine by me, and can be very effective especially for low-budget filmmakers. You have to suspend disbelief, which you always do in a film. If you question why someone would video tape everything but accept how James Bond can jump from one plane to another mid-flight in some action film, then you have some issues. Best use of of sound and getting the audience to use their imagination by keeping things off-camera. When this is done correctly, and the original Haunting of Hill House and the old Val Lewton flicks did this masterfully, it is far more effective than rubbing the audience's face in everything by showing it all graphically. I'm sure not everyone will like this film, but I can't remember seeing a horror flick that caused such audience reaction recenty. The only people I can see being "put off" by this are those who reject the low budget aesthetic (like some critics did when Night of the Living Dead came out in '69, failing to recognize what a masterful film it is) and write it off as "cheap" and people who confuse "torture porn" with horror and suspense and are wondering when the dismemberment is going to start happening...

Stacie Ponder said...

Alright, let's not have the discussion of a horror movie turn into hurtling results at each other for any reason, yeah?

Anonymous said...

Don't waste your MONEY.... This movie(if you can call it that) SUX!!! I went tonight to see it and almost went to sleep... It is boring and NOT SCARY !!! What a waste of time, money and the energy it took to run the film... trust me it is worse than the Blair Witch.... just Awful!!!!

Anonymous said...

totally agree with your comments regarding hype. I've seen a lot of negative comments on the internet and its all people who went into the movie with a macho tough guy attitude ...rather than letting their imagination take over and getting sucked into the experience they attempt to feel superior to others by viewing the film in a mocking manner and then saying "people think that was so scary? wimps"

i thought the film was brilliant and was chilling and filled me with a sense of dread. by no means perfect however.

Amy said...

I can appreciate that this is a little bit creepy, but I have an incredibly high tolerance for scary movies and spent the whole movie laughing at the female lead, and screaming at the male lead for being such a douche.

Only one remotely scary scene, I think we all know which one I mean (hint - feet!), but the rest of the movie had me watching the clock.

I did have high hopes because I'm completely over all the blood & guts horror movies, but this just didn't have enough suspense. Especially when they try to make it seem real... but make it known that there are 3 different endings!

colorbythe123 said...

seriously?
it's not that awesome.
the parts when you're not watching the nighttime paranormal activity is soooo boring, this couple sitting there just arguing and shblah shblah blah. not worth the $8.55 at the theatre.
and the ending...ha.
if you want to go see for yourself fine but i tried to warn you.

Dawn said...

This film is good if you have the mind set for it, I think alot of people on here just went to critize it to be perfectly honest. I think if you go with the right mind set it was scare the hell out of you... maybe not at the time but when you go to your bed at night your brain will go into overdrive!

Plus the ending you all saw was the rubbish ending where she throws him, this in fact is not the original ending, this is only an ending so they can make a sequel which i must admit is a bit rubbish from the director.

The true ending, which can be viewed online is much more creepier and better, you should go and check it out.

The brilliance of this film is that it is psycological and not just gore like Saw or Halloween. I think people should just enjoy this for what it is. A very unique and mindboggling film!

Anonymous said...

This movie is AWESOME!! I am a 30 something male and it takes alot for me to get goosebumps or be scared and this movie did it to the MAX!! I did see the trailer before hand and it definitely lived up to it and more.. TOO many blah blah predictable movies these days with writers who think that MORE BLOOD=MORE SCARY..Seriously, About time we had a movie like this that can scare your pants off without a drop of blood!

Celeste said...

I went to this movie not knowing anything about it. All I had heard was my friend telling me as we were walking into the theater that it was supposed to be terrifying... and after being carded 3 times by the time we finally were able to get into our seats, I was ready to be scared shitless.

Honestly, I was utterly disappointed. This was the least scary movie I've ever seen -try- to be scary. I mean, it had good potential, yes... but after hearing all this hype afterward about what an amazingly scary movie it was -supposed- to be, I just utterly despise hearing it's name.

It was not scary... at all! And I know for a fact that every person in the theater with us thought the same thing because they were making fun of the movie. When something scary was supposed to happen, people would fake scream, and someone even said "that was just a fart" when the blanket was tampered with [the entire theater burst out laughing.] We all thought it was laughable how scary it wasn't. I mean, maybe that's what made it not scary, but... I waited and I waited the entire film for that scary moment, and then right as soon as I thought it was finally gonna happen, the movie ended.

I don't understand why people think this movie is scary in the least. I just don't see it, at all. And-- like I said-- I went in there utterly blind. I hadn't even heard of the movie before... and I thought it was just not scary. Funny... but not scary.

Michael said...

Saw this last night and have to say I loved the suspense and the way Micah responds in a perfectly understandable "we should document this!" way. I usually hate ghost story movies because you see far too much, but the subtlety of this one really really worked. The bit where Katie just stands there for 2 hours by the side of the bed was far more unsettling than anything in the last Saw film.

Have to say though, having seen both ends the new "Spielberg" one is absolutely TERRIBLE compared to the much creepier and unsettling original one. I hope the original ends up on the DVD!

thomwade said...

I really liked this (go figure, considering how tough I am on the Blair Witch-another film with long drawn out scenes of people talking about how scared they are. But for some reason this worked for me. Even had me questioning every creek in the house that night.

But while it was not perfect, I found this quite good and nicely done. I am intrigued by people trying to condemn the film as being a cheap knock off of [REC]. That's a good movie-but quite different, and not so much creepy as just lots of shock and awe. This film is about atmosphere.

evil1dwk said...

I thought the movie was horrible. The whole story is foretold in the 5 minute scene with the psychic investigator. Ouija is evil and when you guys end up fighting it will get worse. The "scary" scenes all occur within the trailer quite honestly. It's quite boring until the night time scenes in the bedroom, but then ever scene in the bedroom becomes a "scary" scene to where you know there are going to happen which makes them even less scary. That's if you are even scared by what occurs in those scenes. I don't know about you but a door moving or a loud bang don't scare me all that much.

I actually laughed at the ouija scene. When it caught fire I was almost in tears.

evil1dwk said...

What's this? A picture from 15 years ago in the attic. Dad should this picture exist anymore. No, you say. Must be the work of a demon. Come on the acting in this movie was horrible. You got maybe a dozen "scary" scenes in the bedroom while they sleep. Don't believe the hype. It's a crap movie with horrible acting and 12 "scary" scenes and a bunch of scenes of lame home video like camera work.

Stacie Ponder said...

So evil1dwk, I guess you didn't like it...? :D

I went to see it again this weekend and apparently the crowd I was with dug it. When everyone is into it, it's amazing how well the film works and how much it manipulates the audience. By the end, the moment the 'night cam' comes on screen, people were audibly uncomfortable. The guy in the seat next to me kept pulling his shirt higher over his face while sinking lower in his seat, muttering "come ON!" but it wasn't because he was having a bad time- it's because he was scared. I think it's AMAZING that there's a horror film in theaters right now that's having that much of an effect on people, whether it's been hyped to hell or not.

It trounced Saw in the box office, which is pretty fucking remarkable.

In the end, what we're learning here is that- GASP- different people like different things. Horror and comedy are incredibly subjective, and what clicks with one person may not click with another. It's all good. I hate The Devil's Rejects, but some people love it, you know?

evil1dwk said...

No Stacie you can say I didn't like the movie much. I have to say it's a pretty original concept. I was just waiting for the rock music played backward scene like all great 80s horror flicks with a ouija board. It started to remind me of the 1987 classic The Gate.

The acting (or lack of) is what really did it in for me. They never seem genuinely moved by these "scary" events occurring in their house. It was predictable (if not completely foretold in the beginning by the psychic or medium or whatever). Good horror concept poorly done. That's just my opinion. Like you said we each like different things.

Stacie Ponder said...

I agree, the acting is the weakest facet of the film. It's good at the beginning when the couple simply has a rapport, but in the daytime scenes towards the end, when they REALLY need to be freaked out / scared, the cracks really show.

evil1dwk said...

I mean come on Parker Brother's makes the Ouija board now. Some how it's lost all hope of being considered an instrument of evil when it's sold right next to CandyLand.

thomwade said...

Honestly, I just was relieved that the "scared acting" was limited to screams, rather than the loud "stuttered breathing" we see in almost every film like this. As much as I liked [REC], when the actress falls into the loud "panic panting" at a time when silence is of the premium? Hell, that naked girl in the My Bloody Valentine remake who in her terror knew that being quiet might help her hide from the slasher longer.

I thought the Ouija board was really annoying... it's to damn hokey. But hey, my sister saw it with her husband and has not slept in the dark for a week. So, someone thinks it's creepy. :)

It should be stated, I went in skeptical, finding it hard to believe I would find it scary at all. It creeped me out.

T Gwynn said...

15K to make it, over 20 mil in the wallet and soaring... just from an economics stand point I'd say that this is well.... the must successful f-ing movie of at least the last 20 years.

While I thought I would be looking forward to my annual overdose of blood and guts, I'm glad that I skipped Saw 6 billion 2 hundred thousand and two or whatever sequel its up to. PA, while not a stunning film by way of those wonderful spec effects, is a masterpiece in simplicity. Less is more. as far as the "poor acting" in this movie, I thought lack there of almost made this believeable. They weren't trying to act in this movie, they were trying to make it real, and I'm sorry, but what guy isn't an arrogant douchebag when he finally realizes he can't help his girlfriend and doesn't want to admit to anyone other than himself??? All in all, a great enjoyable movie, will it win cinematography awards? No. Does it make up for hollywood's recent orgiastic love affair with highly over cg'ed movies. Absolutely. Great first outing by Peli, I look forward to his future movies.

thomwade said...

Oh, and I want to point out:
"I don't know about you but a door moving or a loud bang don't scare me all that much."

When those things happen in a situation where they shouldn't? Hells yeah, that's scary.

Run Nerd said...

Well, I have to say that when I saw Blair Witch, I thought it was brilliant. I watched a girl practically run out of the theater crying because her boyfriend thought it would be funny to tell her that it was "really real". It definitely was a smart movie that worked on the subtlety, a primal fear of the dark, the woods, and the unknown.

PA seemed slow at first, but as the pace grew, the chills running up and down my spine became nearly unbearable. For the first time in my life (35 years) I found a movie that was chilling enough to tempt me to leave, simply to relax my nerves. However, one of the things that I missed with PA was all of the propaganda to help embrace the potential reality of the film work.

So, here is the difference, while BW was good, it was to me, kinda like seeing something freaky on TV. Yeah, it felt freaky, but in a 'distant observer' sort of way. On the other hand, PA made me feel as though I had brought something home with me. It caused me to feel vulnerable, As though I was being stalked by something beyond my control. With BW you felt like staying out of the woods, but with PA you can't hide. In fact as I sat here reading these posts, an old guitar in my closet just decided to slide down the wall, and I honestly considered leaving the room.... That has never happened to me before, but it is the feeling I have always sought after watching a scary movie. PA delivered!

cindy said...

I LOVE horror films. I did NOT love this movie. My 14 year old daughter who was sitting with her friends in the back row texted me "this movie is freakin boring". That being said, the first 45 minutes are boring, the last 30 minutes are kinda scary. My husband thought they spent too much($15,000) making it. So, do not listen to all the hype. That's just what it is. Hype.

Stacie Ponder said...

A note, just so you know: I'm not going to approve any comments that include links to sites where you can illegally download the movie.

Anonymous said...

I didn't even hear any of the hype. Today is our cheap day in Ottawa, and I was looking up movies online when I ran into the listing for Paranormal Activity. One look at the trailer and I knew I was taking my girl to see it. Well worth it, so simple yet definitely scary. I wish I hadn't seen the trailer though, gives away some of the best parts.

Chantal said...

So, I did a bad thing and downloaded it (WILL buy it when it comes out though), and I have to say that I was quite disappointed. I ADORE scary movies of any kind, and most of the days they are my little before I go to bed moments just to see if I can freak myself out.
I saw this one at well, I have to say that in the genre of 'found material' Blair Witch was better.

I made my room dark, put the volume on high, had the right setting and all I was able to do was point out EXACTLY the moments where things would happen. I even gave them compliments for use of shadow work. I saw the original ending and again, very underwhelming.

The acting was okay. The guy better then the girl actually, and I don't say that often.

I'm going to give it another try later this week, maybe I believed the hype so much that is was underwhelming. Perhaps I need to let the hype go and view it with fresh eyes.

Anonymous said...

i have to say, the movie was not all that as i expected, but what had me going was how they made it seem as if it was real, like actual footage lolz, when i came out of the movie therer i ask every1 who i knew if this was based on real events and with actual footage hahahah, and yes the acting was perfect, specially from mikah i was not so impress with jeny but over all it was great, loved how he got killed and not shown, that left me with hunger for blood but keep me so into i was filled with suspense but yes the movie was to predictable actually wayy to predictable i must say, but i liked it ^^

Marc-Alexandre Duchesne said...

I had very high expectations (something I usually try to avoid because you end up disappointed 90% of the time) for this movie and I wasn't disappointed at all! It's awesome! I've seen over 1000 horror movies and Paranormal Activity is definitely one of the best I've seen (top 50)! It's not one of the best I've seen only because it's one of the scariest, it's also one of the most realistic and it's the movie I've always dreamed of! I've always wanted someone to make a realistic movie like The Blair Witch Project about a family or a couple filming in their house to catch ghosts and this movie has everything that I wanted! It's very suspenseful and it has some truly effective scenes! A lot of people say that it's boring and I really don't get it! It's WAY too suspenseful to be boring! I've been trying to understand why the people that thought that it was boring went to see it since it was released! Why does someone who get bored easily go see a movie about a couple filming in their house? While we're at it, why does someone expect to be scared in a theater full of people? The fact that there are idiotic teens that can't stop talking and laughing 90% of the time doesn't help. Personally, I can't imagine finding a movie scary with 30 persons around me. I thought the movie was scary (compared to most movies), but I watched it alone in the dark with an headset. The fact that I believe (or want to) in ghosts/demons helped as well. Actually, I can't imagine someone who doesn't believe in ghosts/demons finding a movie about them scary. What makes ghost/demons movies scary is the fact that maybe they exist. Anyway, the first few minutes of the movie is the only time I didn't feel uneasy! The atmosphere was simply creepy! Hell, even a few parts with nothing but the couple talking were creepy! I guess it was the expectation that something really bad was going to happen. Anyway, when the movie was about to end I felt bad because I really didn't want it to end and any movie that makes me feel this way deserves 5 stars. I Can't wait for the DVD.

PS: All of the people who call the people who like this movie sheeps are immature idiots. Just because you think a movie is bad doesn't mean that those who think it's good are sheeps or wrong or whatever stupid *beep* bigots love to come up with.

e-bone said...

Stacie- Loved your post- it summed up perfectly my perspective. I was lucky not to have seen any hype as I'm not connected to popular culture right now. I went in cold last night (by myself) to a 10pm show and then had to walk back to my hotel room... by myself... and somehow fall asleep.. by myself. I was FREAKED out. The movie is not perfect but in terms of building painful suspense and fear I'll put it against anything I've ever seen. Top 5 scariest for sure. Hold me!

Anonymous said...

I saw the film last night. Was really excited when I had read a piece in a paper about it and was looking forward to the movie. It wasn't as scary as I had hoped but it did make me look around my bedroom when I went to sleep (a few times actually)
I have seen two endings but I must say I prefer Spielberg's take on it. It really took me by surprise, which is always a good thing (I hadn't jumped at all during the movie) But maybe made it a bit 'Hollywood' and does leave it wide open for a sequel. Nevertheless, it's worth going to see. A horror for the older generation... All these gore-fests have spoilt decent horror cinema for the teens I fear.

Anonymous said...

SUCH A SCARY MOVIE, THE END WILL FREAK YOU OUT.

timtoon said...

For me, the biggest scare was that someone got a feature-length YouTube video in theaters. Save yourself 85 minutes and 10 bucks and check out my parody. Even if you liked PA, you have to see this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PDSKT9Pc64

"1/1,000th the budget of Paranormal Activity -- 1,000 times the terror!! Witness these REAL and TRUE EVENTS CAUGHT ON TAPE of a couple being terrorized by an evil demonic force. The ending will shock you!"

Stacie Ponder said...

Yay, spam!

timtoon said...

Sheesh Stacie, if you didn't want my comment on your site, why did you approve it?

Stacie Ponder said...

Because I'm...mysterious? :)

Because I'm ultimately fine with self-promotion, but I'm prickly about it when it feels spammy? Regardless, good video.

Jon said...

The end was the best the rest of the movie was uninspiring. The Blair Witch was good cus they starved the actors and had feelings and emotion this was dull flat and flavorless as I say apart from the Cinema ending which I wish the rest of the film was like.

knobgobbler said...

It's so interesting how people can have such different reactions to the movie.
PA is certainly going on my list of movies that are actually scary.
I loved Blair Witch too... and it boggles me that people don't find it scary.
Whoever suggested BBC's Ghostwatch is also right on... very sinister for those with the imagination and attention span to let it happen.

jamiecf said...

I've just read all the posts and have been fascinated by the wide range of responses.
I was forced to watch this movie last night. And I hated it - but not for the reason that the majority of others seem to. I hated it because it creeped the bejesus out of me.

I am very suspicious person and this played absoltely painfully on my fears. So much so that I'm sitting at my desk right now unable to concentrate on my job because I'm so starved of sleep!!

And to be honest, while I did HATE it and berated my girlfriend for making mme sit through it, it has affected me, and, surely, that is the aim of great horror movies.

Funnily enough the end was the only bit that didn't scare me, as this was the only point that the moviemakers resorted to pleasing the lowest common denominators - a cheap shock.

The rest of the film is deeply disturbing. All those people who say it is not scary either do not have the intelligence or imagination to appreciate suspense, and the fear of the unknown.

Take Saw. That is not a horror movie. NO suspense. Period. Utter drivel.

I think some people on here need to go and see a Hitchcock movie, but then they'd probably not think that they're scary either, because no one gets decapitated or some such rubbish.

Wow! Can't believe I'm ranting about a film I hated!

Probably cos its a pretty darned good film, even if for personal reasons I didn't like it

DangerMouse said...

Whoa... i watched just watched it... alone... lights out... MISTAKE! Had to call my bf and my friend straight after cos I was in such a tizz.. I have an excuse tho (and I SWEAR I don't usually get so freaked by "just a movie"s)... the time displayed on the camera the couple used when the climax went down matched MY REALTIME (!) when i finished watching it.. Creepy coincidence, no?