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Comments

Amanda

The only reason I am not seeing it is BECAUSE I believe the hype. I'm afraid! I'd have to make a bff stay the night for like a week until I was okay. haha

Pete

I have not seen the theatrical version yet, I watched the original version on the internet with the different ending, from what I have read about the version in theaters, I liked the original ending better, but it is a great film.

J

For once, this POV horror doesn't purport to be raw footage..

Of course, Diary of the Dead (which I liked quite a bit, though it too often boiled down to a radio play) is presented as edited product for us by one of the characters onscreen, and we watch another character edit and upload footage.

I wanted to like PA just for minimalism's sake, but I found its cleverness confined to the production's own practical limitations. All the reasons you give as to why things could be happening the way they are seemed to me excuses to confine the action. There's no good reason to keep going back to that bed versus involving other characters. Dude surfs the internet for information once. The acting was surprisingly natural, but the thing just artificially boxed itself in.

Mel

Warning: Mild spoiler alert! This comment contains descriptions of some scenes in the movie.

Rich, I love you and agree with 93% of the thing you say, but this movie sucked sour, clammy ass. Any movie where loud noises in the middle of the night are investigated w/o turning the lights on?? As in, "We were
so terrified of that horrific noise that we couldn't even bother to fiddle with those 3 light switches we ran past in our haste to find the origin of the noise, which we suspect was coming from a demon inside our hermetically sealed home." I also didn't buy Micah' dumb-ass, "You wanna piece of me, Mr.Demon?" bravado and refusal to seek real help after, say, seeing things in his house spontaneously burst into flames.
I walked out afte the, "I think it's in the attic!"
"Wait, you're not going up into the attic?!"
"Yes, I'm going up into to the attic!"
"NO BABY!"
"YES BABY!"
"Don't you dare!"
"You can't stop me!"
(repeat for 2 mins)
nonsense.

I just didn't buy any of it.

Off topic, but I haven't been to these parts of the internet recently and I wanted to tell you that I heard you on This American Life and I squealed with delight @ the mention of your name. You were...well, you: Hilarious, bright, observant. So happy that you are reaching audiences far & wide.

Bodyhead

Got to agree with the above comment--HATED IT! And I loved "Blair Witch Project"

Lisa

I saw the movie and I have to say I was not impressed. I think part of it was because I was told it was the scariest movie ever, but also part of it was I did not believe that sane people would act the way Michah did. Um, hellooooooooooooo if my girlfriend agreed to leave the house and then decided "nah, we can stay" I would be like ... "ok YOU stay, later"

P

that movies was terrible. TERRIBLE.

P

or movie*

Victoria

I just finished this movie about 5 minutes ago, and ... SPOILER

my main beef with the film is that high quality video of the excorcism from the 1960's that was uploaded to a cheap website by a priest, or whoever. The fact that the site existed and the boyfriend found it was the most unbelievable part of the film to me, lol.
Besides that I liked it, it's a good POV film. I wonder if more of these will start popping up, I mean REC only came out last year right?

Michael

I am in 100% disagreement with you. Here's a write up i did on a forum I frequent where I posted why I disliked it:

This movie was AWFUL. I don't really know what specific reason made it so bad.

First, perhaps it's because I've taken an active interest in the paranormal practically since I got on the internet (so roughly 13 years now), I've read personal stories from people who had far more terrifying experiences, I've spent countless nights reading and researching different sects of the paranormal until I scared myself enough to just get in bed and pull the covers over my head. I've even had a moment or two where I may have experienced something paranormal. Then there's a few family members and friends who have also had terrifying personal experiences, some in my own home. To me, the paranormal isn't an entertainment fad. I appreciate SOME of the shows, but even the more respectful ones have given in to entertainment value over credibility. So there's that.

Second, and I guess last - there's the movie itself. It basically studied everything about The Blair Witch that made that a successful film and tried to recreate it. The marketing of the movie as "a documentary," the silence at the end of the film, etc. Only this movie used SOME special effects, whereas Blair Witch, I believe was completely organic. But that's just it - it has been done before. Now, I personally saw The Blair Witch in it's pre release, when people still weren't certain as to whether this movie was real or not, there was an air of mystery about it. I saw it in a tiny indie theater, and my heart was beating in my chest so hard the last 10 minutes or so, especially with that ending, it was actually deafening. I've never experienced anything like it up to that point, or since. The theater itself sat in silence for a good minute or two in disbelief. (on a related note, I saw the movie later, a 2nd time, with friends at a large theater, full of assholes who talked throughout the first part of the movie, missed the story and didn't get any of what was going on, so they booed at the end. basically there wasn't enough blood or guts spelling out every little scary idea for them, like most modern horror flicks). Anyway, I saw this at a bigger theater, which isn't to say it was lost on the audience, it did scare a lot of other people. But I'm certain I've seen actual doors close on their own - so seeing a simulation of it ISN'T scary to me. I will give the movie credit, for it's psychology - possession and demons are a frightening thing when you think about it, but the movie just didn't reach me in a way I think it does many others who go in looking for a cheap thrill. But even where it may have succeeded in getting a few screams, when it got to the silent abrupt ending, some screamed, some confusingly clapped, others just start talking, as most do when the credits roll. I'm a huge fan of psychological thrillers and even classic horror - the exorcist is one of my all time favorite movies, but this was just a poor imitation.

So yeah, basically - to me this movie sucked. Blair Witch was an incredibly genius idea in all departments (idea, production, execution, marketing) that it transcended the horror genre a bit, however, it also completely destroys any movie trying to use the same formula, because we already got their number.

Oh also - the actors were TERRIBLE.

izzie

Micah is not characterized by stupidity or irrational decisions to move along the plot

baby did we watch the same movie

shocka

lordy lordy lordy. this movie was AWFUL. easily the most sinister thing about it is the way it seems to elicit undeserved glowing praise from viewers. i am genuinely amazed that anyone (sorry, rich) could see this and be impressed.

Liz

[Spoilers Below]
I just saw this movie last night and I was really enjoying the movie as it built up for a big scary pay off BUT the second before the part when Katie was being dragged down the hall, the movie's audio switched to the tv previews that play before the movie and the screen faded and the previews were superimposed on top and the lights in the theater went on. So the whole dragging scene and then the thing where she was bloody and holding a cross was ruined for me. Everything went back to normal when she was laying in the bed telling Micah she wanted to stay in the house, but it just took the teeth out of the whole thing for me. By the time the end came, I was just like whatever.

Pinwiz

Loved it.

I think part of the problem is that the films way over-hyped. In terms of Good Horror, Paranormal Activity will certainly get an A+ grade. The marketing is getting in the way.

steele

I just saw it a couple hours ago. I'm still a little freaked out...Haha.

steele

It's nice to know what you're talking about about in a horror movie post for once. Most of the time I read through them without having seen the movie anyway.

Wiggs (The Beholder)

Oh, my god, I saw the movie last night and I am FREAKED out. I woke up once every hour in bed after seeing it and had to shake my husband and whine, "Daaaave, I'm scaaaaared! Cuddle meeeee!" But even that didn't help (shocking.).

I thought the movie was incredibly well done, and I appreciated the funny parts of it too - by the end, even though I knew what was going to happen, I was hoping and hoping that Katie and Micah would make it. My only issue with the film was that they didn't even consider doing what I would have done: get in the car, drive to the nearest airport, and hang out by the security guards until the demonologist guy could come and tell them what the frig was going on.

Anyway, I fully agree with you Rich. And yes, I am SUCH a sucker for scary movies (to the point where the hubs only allows me to see two a year) but I really enjoyed the whole thing. Even if I won't be able to sleep for a week.

Unx

This review totally destroys my theory that PA thrives on breeder angst and is only scary to straight viewers!

Emmabear

I've had more than my fair share of what I believe to be paranormal experiences in my life, so I was eager to see this film, and I was not disappointed. I think I've seen every scary movie that exists, but "Paranormal Activity" is by far the scariest. I saw it a week ago, and it is still the last thing I think about before bed. I think the kind of people who aren't scared by this film are the kind of people who aren't ever scared by any film - and go into the theatre, looking for reasons why the movie isn't scary at all.

My advice? Suspend your disbelief, or you simply aren't going to have any fun.

Michael

I disagree with you Emmabear, I was ready to enjoy a good indie horror flick. I honestly hadn't read that much about it OR seen the commercials showing people screaming in the theaters (a tactic I hate, btw)

To say it's the scariest horror movie that exists is really knocking the work of some far greater films.

geekchic

I have to disagree with you too Rich. Maybe I was just disappointed because I was expecting it to be super scary, because of the hype. I'm pretty easily spooked, so it's not like that's the problem. I dunno. It just didn't do it for me. Maybe because I've had my own paranormal experiences, and I know that when you're in that type of situation, you don't act like either of those characters did. Or maybe it was the ridiculousness of some of the driving forces in the plot (gee, I didn't know demons carried around photographs). I finally got into the movie right before the end...and then 10 seconds later it was over (and I have to say I thought the 'last frame' was super cheesy).

Danielle

Rich, I love you and I agree 100% with you and others that loved this movie. Ive watched alot of horror movies (including Martyrs (loved it)) but this is by FAR the most scared ive ever been at a movie and the fear lasted well after I finished. I really feel people who didn't like it lack imagination. I would completely rather hear noises and let my imagination fill in the blanks than see some cheesy creature with bad FX. What I can imagine when presented with a dark hallway or a large bang will always ALWAYS be more scary than what can be shown to me. Ive always felt that way and I feel this is a movie made around that idea.

Jake

Kinda spoiler-y.

I saw this movie tonight and I'm kinda procrastinating going to sleep by writing this...haha!

I have a general high tolerance for scary films, but there are rare occasions when all that flies out the window and I get sucked it and genuinely spooked. Paranormal Activity was one of those films. The last movie to really do that had been The Decent...but that was a traumatic and unrelenting feeling of terror.

PA was slow and unnerving. It went from possible ghost haunting (pft...big deal) to possible demon haunting to "...yep...that was definitely something inhuman leaving those three-toed footprints." It had a total chilling effect. It felt like an honest to god haunting. You were just as trapped as Katie was...yeah they could have left the house and satisfy the "Well, they're just stupid and should have done 'x,y,z'" crowd...but she couldn't leave that demon. Keeping it 100% in the house and keeping the cast small never felt like concessions to the tiny budget...it was an effective way to convey just how stuck Katie was.

Most modern haunting movies try to CGI you to death and that's not scary. Once you see the creature, the fear is always lessened (maybe except for The Decent and a couple others). This film kept any flesh and blood reveal until the very last possible moment. And besides, the dark hallway just sitting there, the sounds and fleeting glimpses were far scarier than any big budget creature ever could be.

Most modern horror films try to explain some convoluted reason for why what's happening is happening. Aside from the similiary demon-stricken woman Micah found on that website (a bit convoluted, sure, but established that this shit could kill you in a terrible way), the film didn't feel self conscious enough to explain the unexplained (aside from the potential plot holes as you addressed).

It didn't even feel like 'indie horror' and I am probably most thankful for that. It told a solid story with good, likable actors and was able to unnerve me (and the audience...quite a few of which were screamers) in an effective and lasting way. I leave most horror films behind in the theater, this stayed with me this evening.


Well, enough procrastination..time to sleep. Fantastic review, Rich...I think you hit the nail right on the head. As far as POVs go, this makes up for Cloverfield and shows the sub-genre is capable of escaping it's gimmicky nature and be essential to the story telling.

Dennang

Disclaimer: this has nothing to do with the movie, but I had to share: I nearly collapsed in laughter when I scrolled down further to read the rest of the article and saw only the feet of your dancing gif lady. I recommend giving it a try.

DLCF

Spoilers, a bit...
This movie is one hell of a character study.

My husband and I were discussing it over dinner afterward and we were trying to pinpoint the exact moment when Katie breaks. *spoilers* He thought it was the return of the psychic and the "I can't help you" speech. I thought it was the call to the demonologist, when she discovers her last true hope is unreachable.

We both thought the ending was a bit heavy-handed, with *spoiler* demon-voice/footsteps/face. Had she remained Katie, with no voices or footsteps, it would have been beyond chilling for me.

Has anyone here ever played "The Path"?

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