Paranormal Activity

220px-Paranormal_Activity_posterParanormal Activity is a movie people either love or hate. I’ve never spoken with a person who is “blah” about this one, though I’m sure they exist. I like this movie, despite my hatred for found footage films. While I thought found footage was cool at one time, I now think they are overdone, and merely a way to film something on a smaller budget than what would be needed for a standard production. Paranormal Activity has its problems, but I still enjoyed it.

The problem with found footage films is how unrealistic they are in a big way: why would you continue filming something when you should be running away. For this movie, when something big happens, rather than immediately rushing to find out what it is (therefore protecting his wife without hesitation) the camera and footage becomes more important. When my house was broken into a couple of years ago, I didn’t wake up and first grab my camera, I ran toward the sound of the noise and chased the mother****er out of my house and down the street while my wife called the cops. To me, that seems like what a natural immediate response should be, but in found footage films this rarely happens, including this film.

Another thing, the characters doing the filming are often assholes. In Paranormal Activity, Micah is a jerk. No matter how many times Katie asks, tells, and sometimes yells, for him to please put down the camera, he refuses or he will put it down without turning it off. There’s no way to have sympathy for a character like this, one who seems to care so little for his significant other. He only angers her more by bringing in a Ouija board into the house. Kind of asking for something to happen? Yeah. The bad thing is I probably would have brought in something to communicate with as well and if my ass wound up haunted, it would be my own damn fault.

I liked Katie in the film. I had a friend who said she nags too much, but I blame that on Micah being a jerk. She is a character I felt for. Considering these are the only two important characters in the film, at least I liked one.

I did appreciate how the movie attempts to frighten viewers not through gore or excessive violence (not that I’m opposed to either of those by any means), but rather through suspense. This does cause the film to run slow at times, but aside from found footage films tending to do that, it doesn’t harm the story all that much.

I think what Paranormal Activity does best is kill time for however many minutes it runs. I talked about it with friends after seeing it the first time, but it’s not one that lingers in conversation, and is perhaps just a note in a conversation about horror.

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2 thoughts on “Paranormal Activity”

  1. Found footage has definitely been overdone, but I think that aside the biggest issue, like you said, for me has always been how unlikable the characters are. Micah was an absolute a** and should have listened when Katie asked for him to stop.Natural human instinct and reaction just aren’t like how they portray them to be in these movies. Fight or flight kicks in when in a adrenaline inducing situation and even if your fight instinct kicks in who takes the time to lug around a cumbersome camera that will only impede movement? Definitely what made the movie more unbelievable than most.

  2. It’s nice to see that I’m not alone in how much I absolutely did *not* like Micah. I thought that he was a selfish, arrogant, stupid person who kind of deserved his crappy ending. Not that I go around wishing crappy endings on people, but if you’re purposefully trying to piss off an unknown entity in your house, that seems like a really bad and ill-thought out plan. And I also liked Katie as a character and I spent a good portion of the movie wondering why someone like Katie wound up with someone like Micah. You already hit on most of Micah’s complete lack of character and charm in your review, so I’m not going to talk about that.

    As far as found-footage movies go, I thought this one did a much better job of building suspense than some of the others on the market. I liked your ideas about how unrealistic it is that you would make the camera your number one priority when everything started going bad. But that’s what Micah did. The big jerk.

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