Goin' to the Movies

Informin' You About Movies

Reviewin’ For You: ‘Paranormal Activity’

cellpics10-5-09 098On Thursday, at midnight, I cringed in anticipation and jumped a few times and ended up sleeping with the TV on SportsCenter. Why? Because I watched Paramount’s fantastically frightful “Paranormal Activity”. Now, your results will vary and I have slept well since that night without the aid of SportsCenter to block out any odd noises that might have kept me up, but the film is effectively scary and just plain fun.

Before I get ahead of myself, I don’t want to hype the film too much. If you go in with extremely high expectations, you are likely to come away disappointed as hardly any film ever lives up to ridiculous hype. Especially this film that has featured people talking of audience members crying or running out of the theater yelling. None of those things happened at my screening, but again, your results may vary.

Hit the jump for plot details (no spoilers here), impressions, and how you can see the film near you.

As for the film itself, the story revolves around Katie and her boyfriend Micah. They live in California, and Katie apparently has been followed around off and on since around 8 years old by some sort of spirit. Now, that spirit is back, and Micah is incredulous about the situation so he decides to buy a camera and record any sounds or footage while they sleep to see if anything occurs. Of course, what initially appears to be little things gradually become worse, and we have the camera to see how the whole thing unfolds through their eyes.

Now, the film is a low-budget affair. Filmed for roughly $11,000 dollars (reports vary), the film is a “found footage” thriller in the vein of 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project”. The difference here is the focus on the couple versus people you hardly learn about in Blair Witch. Throughout Paranormal you are given a view of this seemingly normal couple and you laugh with them while you also start to genuinely care for their well-being. This is the key that makes everything work, and is why the film is so effective even with a small budget.

The film currently is at 33 screens nationwide and shows only at midnight. So right away, you have a captive audience that really wants to be scared for money, which gives us a great auditorium experience. It’s late, a lot of the people are tired, and tension is in the air. I have never heard an audience before quiet down to be able to hear creaks on stairs and the finer details of the movie. You could tell almost everyone was genuinely holding their breath when things got quiet. The film itself builds slowly, but the final third of the film are well worth the wait.

You owe it to yourself to see Paranormal in the theater. The film currently is in the top 20 markets in the US, across 33 screens, and there are plans to roll out the film to more markets using a “demand it” feature at their Eventful website. Voting ends today to see who gets the film on Oct. 9, with the next 10 cities at the top of the list getting the film as well. Disregard the first 20 cities, as those were the first wave of expansions over the weekend that enabled me to see it in Dallas on Thursday.

So far, this feature has been a success, as every screening has sold out, and the film has raked in an estimated $780,000 dollars. The film sits at 93% at Rotten Tomatoes with 30 reviews while at IMDb the film has an 8.7 rating with over 603 votes. Basically, the film simply works, no matter what reservations you might have. The thrill ride only lasts 99 minutes, but you will remember this film for years to come. Especially at night.


October 5, 2009 - Posted by | Reviewin' For You | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] infamous military base in Nevada. The film, if you haven’t seen it already, is fantastic. In my review I pointed out that you should go in with an open mind instead of challenging the film to scare you, […]

    Pingback by Makin’ Bank: ‘Paranormal’ Soars Past $100 Million « Goin' to the Movies | November 15, 2009 | Reply

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