UPDATE! Paranormal Activity is opening this coming weekend in Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, El Paso, Hampton Roads metro area, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland, Salt Lake City, (Canada), & University of Massachusetts Amherst! These showings WILL sell out, so get your tickets early!
Paranormal Activity has become something of a phenomenon. Released in a select few theaters, and with midnight showings only, the film has uniformly sold out almost all of it’s showings, and has garnered wider and wider releases every weekend since its release. I was able to get my hands on tickets to a midnight screening over the weekend of Paranormal Activity at Universal Citywalk Theaters in Orlando, FL.
Paranormal Activity is an amalgamation of every haunted house/possession movie you’ve ever seen. It’s extremely predictable, and each seen is telegraphed to the point that you know exactly what’s going to happen before it happens.
It’s also traumatically frightening in spite of this.
Full review after the jump!
Let me start off with a bit of the story of the experiece of seeing Paranormal Activity. Because of the crowds, the theater was a bit of a mess. We got there about an hour and a half early (we were told to be there AT LEAST an hour early), and no line had formed. By 11, a line had begun, but it wasn’t really organized – we were blocking the ticket booth, and the entrance doors to the theater. The manager (I think) formed everyone into a pseudo-line, and made us wait a little longer to go up the escalator and go into another line. We were going to have our tickets checked AGAIN, our id’s checked, AND they were going to be seating us, rather than letting us choose our own seats. It was all a very unhappy start to the movie, and I was getting set for an unpleasant moviegoing experience.
Luckily, once the lights dimmed and the movie began, things turned around.
Paranormal Activity tells the story of a young couple who, after moving in together, decide to document (via video camera) the “paranormal activity” that occurs in their home, and which has (seemingly) been occuring to the lead female, Katie (played by Katie Featherston) since she was eight years old. Her boyfriend, Micah (Micah Sloat), doesn’t really believe in all the ghost stuff, so he sets up the camera as kind of a fun thing to see what happens.
Well, as we have been told, antagonizing a ghost is the absolute worst thing to do, and just makes the ghost angrier.
I’m not going to reveal any more plot points because, really, the less you know going in to this film the better. However, for those who have seen the film, or aren’t afraid of MINOR SPOILERS, continue reading!
Still here? Good, because Paranormal Activity is a MUST SEE and is a film you NEED to see in a movie theater. I know it’s not spectacular or anything, and is, essentially, a no-budget flick, but the film begs to be seen with an audience, and seeing it in a darkened movie theater, where it’s much harder to escape what’s on the screen (as opposed to pausing the flick, or being distracted by other things), is the best way to see it.
The film begs comparison to Blair Witch Project except that, unlike Blair Witch, it’s never tried to pass itself off as a true story. Not that it matters – the film is incredibly scary, but will probably divide audiences, just as Project did. Some people will be able to enjoy the film and be terrified by it. Others just won’t be able to get into the story and may actually be bored by it’s lack of CGI, gore, and, you know, all that crap people have gotten used to from lazy modern horror.
Not to say there isn’t some laziness behind Paranormal Activity. Like I mentioned, the film is ENTIRELY too predictable. As soon as someone mentions the word Ouija, you know someone is brining a Ouija board into the house. Almost every scene in the movie has been seen before. But the point to Paranormal Activity is that, despite the fact that everything has been seen before, Paranormal Activity does it better.
As far as demonic possession movies go, Paranormal Activity may be the scariest movie of the genre I’ve seen since The Exorcist. Yes, it’s that scary. Which is a true testament – you know what’s coming, and you still get scared by it. This is the perfect scary date movie, and the best horror film I’ve seen since 28 Weeks Later. The acting is great (let’s hope Kate Featherston does some more movies – I was hoping for an Open Water scene, but alas, nothing) and the film is genuinely creepy.
Still, it loses some points for lack of originality. I just have to, no matter how scary it is.
See Paranormal Activity in a movie theater if it’s playing near you. If not, keep voting on the official site to have it open in your area!