PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2009)

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Christopher

I put off watching this forever. So much so that I’ve known what the ending is for some time; it was definitely explained to me a few times by Elizabeth. Overall I thought this film was scary or at least tense. It remained me of The Blair Witch Project at times, not as good but just having crazy stuff happen around our protagonists but never actually seeing who the real villain is. I really enjoyed this movie but I can’t say it has me wanting to watch the other ones, although if presented the opportunity I’m sure we would.

I will say though, if I had seen this as a kid I don’t think I would of been able to sleep for weeks. There was nothing worse than bad stuff stuff happening to characters in films and never being able to see the bad guy. I cannot imagine how many times I stopped watching movies as a kid because I was too scared and ended up being more scared of what I imagined the rest of the movie being than what actually happened. I should have just toughed it out.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Out of our aforementioned similar movie experiences, Paranormal Activity was mine. I saw it in theaters, thought it was super scary, and thought the last couple of seconds of the movie ruined it. Seeing it again now, I more or less feel the same way.

Paranormal Activity is weird because so many of its problems could be fixed so easily. While I believed the relationship between the two main characters, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat), I just thought they were sort of annoying, especially Micah. The thing about Paranormal Activity is that it’s not the couple’s house that’s haunted, it’s Katie herself. And Micah, while concerned, is so pigheaded that he refuses help (even if no one could actually do anything). He also lies to Katie and masks it as a non-lie: he wants to buy a Ouija board, but a medium told them that if they engage with the spirit(s) and try to communicate, it’ll open the door to let them take over (or something). Katie makes Micah promise that he won’t buy a Ouija board, and he does. And then lo and behold, he comes in with a Ouija board, his excuse being that he didn’t buy it. Ugh, I hate shit like that. What an asshole! AND THEN, while they fight about it, the Ouija board bursts into flames all on its own! And they’re barely concerned! Annoying.

But yes, I think the ending is terrible. I think Paranormal Activity is famous now for its minimalism; there is no monster or ghost, we don’t see any CGI, everything is just subtle. And it works so well and is soooo scary. So then, in the last scene, the fully possessed Katie kills Micah off-camera and hurls his body toward the camera. She’s covered in blood and sniffs his body. Then she turns to the camera, gets close to it, and her face turns into a weird CGI thing and the movie ends. Uhhhh what? After the entire movie having no real special effects, is it really necessary to squeeze one in in literally the last couple of seconds? The alternate ending on the DVD has Katie slit her throat instead, which I don’t like, but is still better than the theatrical, I think. There’s another ending floating around that I saw after I saw the movie the first time that I think is far better.

All in all, I do think Paranormal Activity is pretty great. It’s scary and fun. But honestly, The Blair Witch Project takes a similar theme and does a much better job with it.

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