Saturday, November 07, 2009

Paranormal Activity

It Moved!

Note to self: If I want to make a film that would allow a clueless audience to leave bewildered whether it's a true event or not, leave out all forms of credits, and end it as it is. Although Paranormal Activity is a work of fiction, its presentation made many amongst the audience wonder if it's true, even as the end credits did state it's fictitious. I guess not everyone reads.

The Blair Witch Project could probably be credited as one of the earliest horror films which used the Internet extensively to market the film, and to build a buzz surrounding its probable “real life” events which unfold from a first person video camera perspective. It managed to spook its way to box office success despite being low budget, and there are now countless of films out there which have adopted similar techniques, though with varying degrees of success. But of course that doesn't stop films, like this one, from trying.

Micah (Micah Sloat) and Katie (Katie Featherston) are the chief protagonists in a film as shot by Micah on his expensive camera, just to try and catch whatever's bothering his fiance each night in her sleep. As we learn together with him on this voyeuristic journey, this disturbance is nothing new, as whatever it is has been spooking Katie since she was 8 years old, and as a ghost expert explains the distinction between ghosts and demons, this one wants Katie, and won't just go away even if the couple should move homes. Talk about not knowing what he has gotten himself into, hooking up with a girl who comes with some supernatural baggage!

So as the story goes, Paranormal Activities has a repetitive presentation, which will either keep you intrigued in wanting to find out what's the next discovery and progress as the days wear on at the witching hour of 3am each night, or just plain bore you out of your wits. It's like a slow brew, watching little things like shadow movements, morph into shock jock tactics like sudden slamming of doors, to things that literally come crashing down into the living room. Half the movie gets shown in 1 camera angle, and that's watching the couple in their bed sleeping until something happens, which will creep you out in varying degrees.

That said, it's the little things that just plant some frightful thoughts within your mind, but when the time is ripe for some full blown in-your-face horror, this film doesn't shy away from that either. It's one heck of a finale that you probably won't see it coming, akin to those viral marketing videos that have you stare until your guard is down, then sucker punch you and knowing not to drag it out for too long, for maximum results. Franking speaking, you can afford to dose off for the 1st hour.

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