Paranormal is a general term that describes unusual experiences that lack a scientific explanation or phenomena alleged to be outside of science’s current ability to explain or measure. Paranormal Activity, the newest release from Hollywood filmmaker Oren Peli, is a movie that lacks interest and that leaves you begging for more. This film, before I even get started talking about it, is quite possibly one of the single worst movies that I have ever seen. When I am on my death bed and I am told I only have a few moments left to live this studio should have to show up and give me 99 minutes of my life back for sitting through this awful film.
The director of this film, Oren Peli, has never made a movie before. Trust me when I say that it shows in this film. Katie Featherston, who plays the lead female role in this excuse for a horror flick has only been in one movie prior. She starred in a movie called Mutation that was released in 2006 but never made it to the big screen. Micah Sloat, who plays the male leading role here, is making his big screen debut with this film. Whoever thought that a movie with a debut director and only having a total of a handful of films from the rest of the eight person cast (yeah, there are only a total of eight characters in this film) would be worth watching is sadly mistaken.
Never mind that this film made over sixty million dollars in the box office in its opening week. It is the Halloween season and people are always looking for a scary movie to run chills up his or her spine when the sun goes down. It was genius on the people who decided to release this movie when they did as it was perfect timing. I must admit, from the preview this film looked interesting. I wanted to see it long before it came to the movie theater. However, when it finally arrived, and thanks to the likes of Twitter, I was thrown into the world of social testimonials.
I began researching the film and later learned that it was in fact not a real couple. The movie is based on the premise of a lady, named Katie, who has been suffering from paranormal activity. Since she was a little girl, eight years old to be exact, she has been hearing ghosts whisper to her and has heard things go bump in the night, so to speak. She later moves in with her boyfriend, into a really nice house I might add, and he discovers her eerie past.
The movie begins with absolutely no back story what so ever. You have no idea who he or she is or why he is filming everything that is going on. While the reasoning behind the camera is later made obvious, you still never know what would cause a paranormal occurrence like this on this woman. I am not a believer in these things in real life, only in the movies, but the film goes on as if they both, her and her boyfriend, are aware of what is happening and are trying to solve it by catching it on camera.
The movie is only an hour and a half long but throughout the entire film, every handful of minutes or so, you see the camera take its resting place on top of the tripod and the couple goes to sleep. Throughout the film every night you hear more or see weirder things happening. It starts with someone walking up the steps. Then the camera goes into the next day. Then you begin hearing voices. Then some more loud foot steps. Then it even gets to the point where Katie gets out of bed and stands, staring at her man, for hours into the night. The next day, of course, she remembers nothing of the previous night’s occurrences and it is thought to be just another paranormal activity. (I can see where they got the name for the film. Very original.)
Eventually Micah gets the thought to throw down some baby powder to see if these footsteps they are hearing are causing actual footprints. Wouldn’t you know it, they do find a series of footprints. One leading into the bedroom, but never returning, and another leading to a guest bedroom down the hall. The only cool part about the guest bedroom down the hall is that this “thing” one night grabs Katie and drags her down the hall into this room. Micah, of course being the good boyfriend that he is, goes after her and saves her at the last minute.
Eventually, and this is the only part of the movie that I would consider creepy, is when there comes a loud knocking at the door. The banging continues and eventually all chaos breaks loose. Micah runs down the stairs to find out what is going on, and to stop the spirits if he can, as Katie runs down after him. After a few loud screams Katie comes back upstairs with a knife in her hand and blood on her wife beater. She sits, begins to rock, and continues sitting, and rocking, for hours on end. Eventually the phone rings to no answer as Katie is still rocking, knife in hand. Eventually a friend shows up, notices the dead body downstairs, and runs to get the police. A few moments later the cops show up, run upstairs, and begin to yell at Katie, who is still rocking, to drop the knife? She gets up, wakes from her rocking state of paranoia, and is quickly shot and killed on the spot by the two police officers who had their guns drawn. The movie is then over.
This movie could have been a half an hour and done just as much for me. When I was not watching their bedroom in night vision I was listening to her complain about her boyfriend trying to help or a psychiatrist who was unable to help. There was even a scene with a Ouija board. It caught on fire, which was kind of cool, but that did not make up for the stop motion camera shots that faked the board actually moving on its own.
This film was made on a very small budget. Sure, they managed to rake in some incredible dollars in the first few weeks, but that does not make up for the fact of how terrible this film was. Today on National Public Radio I was listening to them discuss the sequel that is already being talked about. A sequel? How in the hell can you make a sequel of a movie where the two people involved are dead? And I sure don’t want to watch another couple do a repeat of the same thing I watched these two B movie actors do.
If you have seen it, please leave your comment either good or bad. I want to hear your thoughts on this film. If you have not seen it, I apologize if I ruined anything by telling you the two main characters died. But, I might have saved you from wasting $10 on seeing it this weekend. I give this film a 1 out of 5 on the Netflix scale. (I rate all my movies on Netflix.) I would give it a zero but 1 is the lowest number available. If they decide to make a second one I will not see it. I actually hate myself a little bit more now for seeing this one. The studio produced a stellar trailer that hooked me but I hope that this blog post can keep you away from the ticket booth. Paranormal Activity was an absolute box office bomb.