31 Days of Halloween – Day 27 – Paranormal Non-activity

para1Paranormal Activity (2007) is a jump-scare movie and tries hard to be normal.  With ghosts.  The most comparable thing to this movie is probably The Blair Witch Project, except for the fact that Blair Witch actually has a story, albeit a flimsy and pretentious one.  Paranormal Activity has no story.  It’s just people walking around, brushing their teeth, and getting scared every night like clockwork.  

The most easy filmmaking uses jump-scares.  I mean, it’s hard to actually build something and have a character arc like in The Exorcist.  Imagine The Exorcist with a bunch of flippin jump-scares every ten minutes and nothing else.  NOTHING.  It’s just jump scares.  Things moving without explanation or people getting tugged by an unseen force is as good as it gets for Paranormal Activity.

para3I’ve been thinking about how I can like The Blair Witch Project and not like Paranormal Activity.  They’re basically the same thing, right?  I think the two movies have a different focus while BASICALLY using some of the same tactics.  Paranormal Activity makes ghosts commonplace and grounds them, as if dispelling all the mythology and folklore surrounding spirits or ghouls, like that built up in other movies.  In fact, there’s no background or rules surrounding the haunting seen in Paranormal Activity, beyond a psychic.   Blair Witch has the opposite take.  It is concerned with the history and mythology of ghosts, or rather, one in particular, the Blair Witch.  The whole movie is based around this premise.  

I think the performances are good in Paranormal Activity, but it’s not hard to brush your teeth and converse in smalltalk.  Blair Witch is a little worse off because they have a story points to accomplish, beyond just scaring the campers.

I think the best scene in Paranormal Activity is either the moving door or when Katie getting dragged out of bed.  Many of the other scenes were flawed or felt off in some way.  Maybe because I thought Micah was friggin annoying after a while.  He definitely played his stereotype right down to the last, although I think nobody is that stupidly macho or dumb.  

para2To be honest, they had a chance to actually build something when they shoe-horned in a psychic, but they quickly dropped that subplot and forgot about it.  I’m not sure why.  I thought that was the wrong decision.  Then again, it was the only way to keep the story simple and continue irritating the characters with jump-scares.

In all, this is an alright movie, but the setting and the dialogue are a turn-off for me.  I much prefer the use of folklore, mystery, and suspense.  That’s not to say Paranormal Activity doesn’t have suspense, because it does but it has a lot of downtime too.  It just has too much normal about it to really make me think it’s better than people in the woods talking about a witch.

para4

 

31. Poltergeist (1982) vs Poltergeist (2015)
30. Blair Witch Project (1999)
29. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
28. The Wicker Man (1973) and The Wicker Man Remake
27. Tales from the Darkside, the Movie (1990)
26. Saw (2004)
25. The Prophecy (1995)
24. The Hills have Eyes (1977)
23. House of the Long Shadows (1983)
22. Creepshow (1982)
21. Phantasm (1979)
20. The Omen (1976) vs Damien: The Omen II
19. We Are Still Here (2015)
18. The Guest (2010) (2014)
17. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
15. The House that Dripped Blood (1971)
14. Army of Darkness (1992)
13. In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
12. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
11. Theater of Blood (1973)
10. House of Wax (1953) vs House of Wax (2005)
9. Hellraiser Inferno (2000)
8. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
7. The Changeling (1980)
6. The Eye (2002)
5. The Hitcher (1986)
4. Paranormal Activity (2007)
3. 28 Days Later (2003)
2. Suspiria (1977)
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – This review will be published October 31st!

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