I avoided the first Paranormal Activity movie like the plague for many years. Both to support my husband, who had the idea first, and way better I might add, and because of all of the dumb fucking trailers. It looked like a direct-to-Walmart feature. Someone somehow managed to piece together all of the goofiest stunts like a ninth grader would do on iMovie. You can't even make me watch movies like that for free or intoxicated. They're just boring. 
But the air cleared, and the dust settled, and we watched. All of them. And to my surprise, they are fucking great. Some are definitely better than others, but each one is neat and charmed in its own way. I like this one. Granted there are huge plot holes, and it suffers from being the part 4 of a huge horror movie franchise, but it's cute. You genuinely like all of the characters. Even the helpful horny boyfriend that initiates rocking out to Rob Zombie, in order to impress the girl. And let's not dismiss the evil kid with the flood pants with socks and sandals. Evil definitely has a look in this one. It tries to look like your next door neighbor, but ends up definitely being the Klopeks. It has a powerhouse ending that stays with you, that elevates it to pretty pretty pretty good. Check it out. B

- Babes

In terms of the Found Footage subgenre, Part One is nearly as good as The Blair Witch Project (which has a very different meaning to different people). But in terms of sequels, Paranormal Activity has the edge (by, like, a lot) and that's because, unlike BWP, they never strayed from their formula. In fact, they stayed almost entirely still; it was always interesting to see how they managed to keep each installment grounded in the original story (even if it was a ridiculous stretch).
Part Four introduces us to Robbie, a young boy raised by witches (I think) who inflitrates an unsuspecting family with the intention of corrupting their son and sacrificing their daughter. That's the plot and I don't care; what this entry continues to do effectively is build suspense with expert pacing, performances, and editing. But the true strength of these movies (and it's still prevalent here) is its quiet stillness; ghost stories typically share a very similar atmosphere of cobwebs and candlelight accompanied by a baroque score. This film (or video) hangs on long, silent wide shots that challenge you to study every corner of the composition in search of what doesn't belong. A handful of jump scares aside, they allow the actual "paranormal activity" to be scarier than the film (or video) makers themselves. B

- Paul


Luke said...

I have fond memories of seeing the first one on the big screen. It was during Sophomore year of college. I remember getting back to my dorm and being unable to sleep the rest of the night.

Dan The Movie Man said...

Nice Curb reference there, Jess ;)

I saw the first at the movies and dug it. but have yet to see any of the sequels.

Related Posts with Thumbnails