Paranormal Activity
You’re entering spoiler country, folks. I will forever root for the little guy. It will always warm my heart to see the underdog take the #1 spot at the box office. My heart swells at the succes
Published on November 2, 2009 | Filed under Review

You’re entering spoiler country, folks.
I will forever root for the little guy. It will always warm my heart to see the underdog take the #1 spot at the box office. My heart swells at the success of Paranormal Activity. I’m just sad I didn’t like it.

I’m pretty sure most people know what this film is about. It’s a first person POV involving a couples documentation of the strange events in their home. BOOM! There’s your plot. I’m cool with minimalist plots. I was excited to see how they were going to turn this into a feature length film. And although the film didn’t drag, it was certainly repetitive.

The easiest way to go about this is to explain what I didn’t enjoy. This movie didn’t work for me because of the lack of tension. There were moments that had the potential to be amazing and truly unsettling. For example, the first time Katie gets out of bed and just stands, swaying slowly throughout the time elapsed footage. It was a great set up! She walks downstairs and eventually the BF goes to look for her. I was ready for an intense jump scare. I wanted him to walk downstairs and have the most fucked up thing imaginable happen. Where did he find Katie? Outside, on a swing. Sure she was acting out of it but that’s not scary! A perfect opportunity blown.

The film also got into a very obvious rhythm. Night time: they capture something on camera. Day time: they bicker and possibly swear and totally break the tension. Night time: a single event happens. Day: tension breaks. Lather rinse and repeat a dozen more times. This movie never pushed the envelope. It never took the time to utilize any of the atmosphere (I’m assuming) it was attempting to build.

Once the Ouija board caught fire I was done. It just did not work for me.

The ending made me feel the way I did after I saw the US version of The Descent. They aren’t similar in the slightest (other than the fact they both irritated me). I just didn’t appreciate being smashed over the head with the conclusion. OH EM GEE! She is the demon! Meh. The ending I have read details of seems so much more cohesive. I’m sure a different cut wouldn’t have saved this viewing experience for me as I wasn’t a fan of any part of this film.

In short, hate is a strong word. I am weary to seriously use it in regards to this film. But I didn’t like it. Not just because it didn’t scare me, but because it wasn’t a good movie. And hey, if you did like it, good for you.

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Christine enjoys obsessing over Paracinema magazine. She also loves well written hour long TV dramas. Her free time is spent with her many boyfriends: Brian De Palma, Edgar Wright & Alfred Hitchcock.

  • Fewdio

    I could NOT agree more. Well said.

    Drew Daywalt

  • Triefy

    I just want to pack you up and keep you with me always. Well, you and Dylan. I guess it's a good thing you have a magazine so I can do just that.

  • James

    Good to read your thoughts on this! Though I wish I'd paid more attention to your spoiler warning Christine! Its still early here and I haven't had any coffee yet. Gahhhhh.
    Sorry you didn't enjoy this – though you've perfectly articulated why you didn't. I'm still so curious to see this though… Maybe we can compare notes when I do?? 😉

  • Tenebrous Kate

    >>Once the Ouija board caught fire I was done.

    Yes. This was the precise moment where I checked out as well. What a wasted opportunity for a nifty micro-budget flick, but alas it's just another defiantly ordinary and even *boring* micro-budget flick like so many others. Kudos on the boatloads of cash the filmmakers are reeling in, but I'll keep hoping thre *next* micro-budget breakout is actually… you know…. good.

  • The Man With No Name

    I thought it succeeded in tension. Every time it was night the full theater would shift in their seats huge thug lookin guys would throw hoodies over there head and people would be whispering cuss words. Maybe it was just the atmosphere. I agree with you about the bore some rhythm the film got in, but over all i thought it was fun and that all you could want from a found footage.

  • Andre

    Well said. I got in trouble for speaking my mind about this movie a few days ago and was deeply saddened by the lack of support. Just because I didn't like it doesn't mean I don't root for the milestone in horror cinema that it accomplished!

    And so true about the film getting stuck in that pattern. I threw in the towel also when the Ouija Board caught on fire! Kudos for being honest.

  • Robert

    Saw it yesterday after hearing the hype – Agree with you completely about the experience while I was in the theater watching the movie. However, have to admit it had a more lasting effect on me than most movies like this (one day so far). We'll see what's on my mind when I wake up at 2 AM (I seriously was a little anxious). I think the reason I actualy like this movie has to do with the number of days and dollars spent to make it. Compare it to the big dollar movies that have consistently disapointed me, and had to love it for that only.

  • Stephen Andrew

    AGREED. The only thing terrifying about this film is that someone took $11,000 and turn into a 100 million. Now that's some scary shit.

  • christine

    Thank you all so much for your comments!
    I love hearing various takes on the film!!

  • Anonymous

    I went with my wife to see it last week, and thought it was ok especially when the lady heard (and believed) that it was a docu-film based upon actual events. I just went along for a couple of days, then I took her to the official web site for the movie which tells about how the film came about. The real horror was explaining to her why I enjoyed her helpless wonder from every creak in our house after the movie… maybe I should get that low grumbling sound as my alarm tone on my cell phone… 🙂

  • Wally.Wonka

    I saw this film at home (original ending) and believe this was possibly a better ending than the theatre release, from what i've heard.
    I really enjoyed it. part of the reason may have been because my girlfriend was absolutely crapping herself beside me and the fear factor rubbed off a little.
    I won't be seeing the theatre release ending, as I don't want to spoil the experience for me.
    I can see how a lot of people disliked this film, but I was not one of them.


    ps. love the blogs…been reading them non stop for the past week and catching up on what i've missed

  • Joe Humphrey

    I enjoyed the movie enough, though the throat cutting ending I read about sounds far better than the ending we got.

    I think my main problem was that I didn't feel like it went far enough. When it was over I was like "Oh… okay". I expected it to ramp up into some kind of real terror, and it never really got there. The part where she gets pulled out of the bed and dragged down the hall threw me for a loop, and I enjoyed that part. But really, it felt like it was planning on going a fair bit further and it just didn't. It was like they just said "All right, that's all we got. Bye!"

    I think part of it was that The Blair Witch Project scared the complete bajesus out of me, and it did such a good job of slowly building to a crazy explosion of scary at the end, and this movie just didn't do that. Without that, this style of movie doesn't have a lot going for it. It either has to work really well, or it doesn't work at all. There's no middle ground for this style of film making.

    I have to support it regardless, and I enjoyed it enough that I don't mind recommending it to people, along with the stipulation that it's all right but not amazing. But yeah, I have to support small movies like this, even if they aren't amazing. Especially since I really like this "found footage" style of horror.

  • Ashlee


    She didn't at least swallow him whole at the end?

    I still want to check this out for myself to grasp the hoopla.

  • James

    Hey Christine. There was a special Friday the 13th screening of this in Belfast on, well, Friday the 13th of last week! I really, REALLY liked it. I do agree with you though that it was very repetitive, but I found with each time, the scenes depicting the night-time terrors, became more creepy and intense.
    Now, maybe because I was on some medication for a nasty cold, but when i got home i still felt incredibly uneasy – which wasn't helped by my flatmate abandoning me and going away for the weekend and leaving me home alone.

    I managed to freak myself out thinking about the film too much, and that, I think, is the sign of a film doing something right. It really got under my skin and stayed there. I'm looking forward to watching it again on DVD – just to see if it still holds up.

    Right, I'm off now to play some Ouija before dinner. 😛