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Paranormal Activity

October 9th, 2009 by unkle lancifer · 22 Comments

Really? That’s it? That’s PARANORMAL ACTIVITY? I’m not a hard guy to scare. I’ve gotten the creeps watching A HAUNTING on A&E in the middle of the day. I jump when the phone rings, my doorbell jolts me like electroshock therapy, I have bad dreams about kittens and I can’t stomach the nightly news. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT actually did freak me out. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY? Nothing …nada. I’m not trying to be contrary. I didn’t go in the theater with a chip on my shoulder; I tried very hard to get into this movie. I left my expectations at the door and I imagined it was all happening to me (something that usually works) and still I felt zero fear. What the heck is supposed to be scary in this movie? A blanket falling off the bed? C’mon…really?

Maybe it’s me. Maybe because sleepwalking, hours of lost time, unexplained bite marks and crouching in fear from unseen malevolent forces are such huge parts of my day to day existence that they just don’t freak me out as much as they should on film. I wanted to be scared, I did. I hate people who say they don’t get scared! Still, I don’t get this movie! How is it that this movie struck a nerve with some people? To me it’s just a story about some garden-variety schlub who’s scared of the baggage (i.e. emotional needs) that comes with the gal he just shacked up with. Yea, a Ouji board catches on fire, but the scariest thing in this movie to me was the book on demons that he leafs through. I get subtle horror people, I do; I swear. I don’t need slimy monsters and decapitations. Ugh, maybe I just hated the way the couple depicted decorated thier home. Was she having a crafty beading party at one point? I hate this couple. I think they cut in front of me at the concession stand before the movie and asked for unsalted popcorn.

Oh well, to each his own. I don’t feel ripped off or anything. I don’t feel tricked by the brilliantly creative advertising campaign. I just feel like I got a lap dance from someone that everybody but me is turned on by (wouldn’t be the first time). If you find this movie scary, all I can say is I am sooooo jealous of you. I want to be you right now. I want to sleep with the lights on tonight. I want to double bolt my door and watch SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH until I’m relaxed and stable again. Maybe I should put on [REC] or WOLF CREEK to get to that place. I know, I’ll watch THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT! If only I could get this damn SINEAD O’CONNOR TUNE out of my head…

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22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Oct 9, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Yikes. I’m still curious about it, I have to admit. I’ve only recently been hearing about it. I guess it was time for a new BWP. People like the grassroots stuff, I guess!

  • 2 Andre DumasNo Gravatar // Oct 9, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    hahaha….ahaha… I just cracked up throughout that entire post. I have yet to see this but probably won’t in the theater because scary movies in theater are unfair because the sound is turned up and amplified therefore making it automatically more scary. 
    And also I’m a wuss. But what I’ve gathered from this is that people say that what really scared them was all the “noises” so does that mean the noises were surprising and jolting or they were genuinely scary noises we’ve never heard before? 
    I’m a big fan of horror movies that don’t use sounds and crescendos to accent the horror- or rather to initiate the horror… but unfortunately we see less and less of that everyday.

  • 3 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Oct 9, 2009 at 10:45 pm


    It’s interesting to see what can be done on such a low budget but the scares really didn’t happen for me. I kept thinking it’s kind of boring but there’s bound to be a great climax and then nothing. In fact the last scene is just tacky. Maybe if I never saw the trailer I could of at least been surprised a little. Anyway, I guess it’s cool that a supernatural movie is working for some people. I’ve seen scarier stuff on youtube though.
    yep a lot of it was just loud stomping sounds. Maybe living with Aunt John has desensitized me from being afraid of those.

  • 4 PhantomWerewolfNo Gravatar // Oct 9, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Aww, sorry you didn’t find it scary =(
    I guess it was just scary to me because I actually lived in a house that was haunted. it brought back those memories and played with the thought that it could have ended like this.
    But yeah, to each his own. Oh and the trailer is CRAP! I can’t believe they showed the ending like that! Whoever did that needs to be shot.
    Anyway, hopefully you’ll find a movie that scares you and isn’t quite so overhyped.

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Oct 9, 2009 at 11:05 pm


    Horror is so much like comedy you just never know what’s going to work for you and when. Maybe if I had been at a jam packed screening it could have helped or maybe it was my mood. I don’t know, I tried to clear my mind but I guess the hype was just too much for me. Right when I got into the theater there’s this giant cardboard standee with a Bloody Disgusting quote saying it’s “the scariest movie ever made.” or something. I expected at least a little nerve frazzling of some sort but it just seemed like a waiting game to me.
    I did like the part where the female character was talking about her past experiences and I did feel some dread when the ouiji board was brought into the house but I didn’t feel much of a payoff on either of those things. 
    I bet you could scare me much more by telling me about the haunted house you lived in. I absolutely believe in the paranormal. Several people have seen an old lady ghost in the place we currently live in and I have yet to. When I come down stairs at night though I will not look at the basement door because that is where she sometimes appears….ok see I’m giving myself the creeps now.

  • 6 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Oct 9, 2009 at 11:18 pm


    By the way, I found this description of the original ending(s)…
    both sound scarier to me!

  • 7 Chuckles72No Gravatar // Oct 10, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Yeah, just put in [Rec] and you should get your fear on.  The last 10 minutes of that flick are a massive freakout – I was flabbergasted.  It felt like they grafted the ending of the scariest movie ever made onto an otherwise respectably scary movie.  Brrrr.

  • 8 PhantomWerewolfNo Gravatar // Oct 10, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Those endings sound very interesting and I hope they release them with the DVD. I thought the ending we have in theaters now was a jump scare and while it was a little creepy, the others sound better.
    I wouldn’t call this the scariest movie ever made, Bloody Disgusting is a pretty good website, but come on… not one movie can really claim that.
    Packed theaters can be good AND bad. I went to a rather cramped viewing and when the girls stood over her boyfriend and stared at him someone screamed “RAPE!” Sure it was funny, but it kind of killed to moment.
    But yeah…. bring on the alternate endings!

  • 9 PinchyNo Gravatar // Oct 10, 2009 at 4:34 am

    My initial reaction upon seeing the trailer was, “This movie looks cheap.”  I figured it probably relied on non-stop cheap scares to keep the audience constantly on edge.  And the whole ad campaign seems really desperate to me – very much akin to fans circulating a petition to keep their favorite TV show on the air.
    Frankly, I don’t know if I want to live in a world where “Paranormal Activity” gets a major theatrical distribution deal and “Trick ‘r Treat” doesn’t….

  • 10 KahotepNo Gravatar // Oct 10, 2009 at 7:51 am

    This is the film that Spielberg was said to be so unnerved by that he had the DVD removed from his house? Really, Steven? That man’s been seriously cottoned up by mainstream success. He should give away all his money. I’ll send him my account number and sort code…

  • 11 Blue SevenNo Gravatar // Oct 10, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Sorry to hear you weren’t feeling the movie, Unk – I always enjoy and respect your views on horror cinema.  As far as those here who are hopping atop the pigpile without having even seen the damn thing… can’t say I respect your opinions much.
    Hype is what will create a backlash against this movie, just as it happened with The Blair Witch Project.  About 90 percent of said hype is ridiculous, too.  Brad Miska over at Bloody-Disgusting even gave the flick a resounding “meh” when he first saw a DVD screener, and went from that to “ZOMG SCARIEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME” – completely absurd.  It’s not the scariest movie ever.  Even just watching the trailer will exponentially improve the odds of not getting into this movie.
    As for my take on it, I say it’s a good way to spend a couple of hours.  I love the faux-documentary, from BWP to MTV’S Fear to The Legend of Boggy Creek to The Last Broadcast.  (And no, I don’t care who supposedly ripped off what.)  I wasn’t ratcheted up to unbearable levels of tension while watching it.  Watching the trailer inured me to a couple of the better scary moments, to boot.  However, the last 20 minutes or so I found to be pretty tense, and the ending?  Masonry was excreted.  I loved it.  I read about the alternate endings, and hope to see them on DVD in the future, but tacky?  I respectfully disagree.  I dug it.  My hands were shaking.  Even cooler than that was the lingering creepy vibe I took home with me, to my condo in San Diego with a practically identical kitchen – the vibe that felt like I had screwed up in some way by seeing the movie , had succeeded in opening some door from the supernatural to my life.  Ridiculous?  Totally.  But I still felt it, and couldn’t get to sleep for a couple hours after I got home at 2 AM.  Now, that feeling went away a couple of days later, and it seems especially silly now, but I love you guys and so I wanted to tell you about it.  The last movie to make me feel that way was The Blair Witch Project, and in that case the spooky feeling lasted a week or two, but it was nice to have that feeling again.
    Just my two cents.  And the last 10 minutes of [REC] is AWESOME.

  • 12 Blue SevenNo Gravatar // Oct 10, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Just realized that I:
    A. Have diarrhea of the laptop
    B. Am being overly defensive.  Everyone’s opinion is valuable.
    Sorry on both counts!

  • 13 Chuckles72No Gravatar // Oct 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    @Blue Seven – Props for mentioning MTV’s FEAR.  That was such a great show.

  • 14 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Oct 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Blue Seven

    Don’t apologize! I love your comment and you bring up some great points! I always think it is interesting how different people are scared by different things (that’s pretty much what this site is about). I don’t mean to imply that I think that PA is a piece of garbage or anything. I think it’s a pretty amazing feat all things considered and I think I got my fair share of entertainment too. I just wish that it had scared me! Maybe I have underestimated the effect the hype did have on me. I pretty much thought since I am such a light touch with supernatural movies that I was guaranteed to be scared. I couldn’t watch the Exorcist for years and I remember as an adult watching THE HAUNTED (a TV movie) late at night and it scared the hell out of me. I think I even had to sleep with the lights on. I usually dig faux documentaries & found footage movies too they usually work for me (By the way did you see HOME MOVIE? that one is pretty good) Still for some reason I couldn’t get into this one. Maybe I just never was able to buy the reality enough (Although I never bought the reality in Home Movie either and it still creeped me out) Plus, like I said, if you got scared by PA all I feel is jealousy. It’s such a personal thing I guess, I’m sure there is stuff that scared me that would never scare you for example…
    You know where they kind of lost me? The ouija board thing. I thought they made it clear that the couple watched what they filmed and then they seemed to not have any reaction to that incredible evidence. I understand they made it clear that it wouldn’t matter if they left the house or not but since the planchette moved on its own accord and started a fire (!!!) I would think they would at least step up their game in some respect.
    Anyway I hope the movie makes a ton of money. I’ll always route for any horror movie to do well because that means we get more of them. I have a feeling this one is going to be around for a while so I’ll give it another chance on DVD. I also want Aunt John to see it. I’m dying to hear what he thinks about it. I just couldn’t lie and say that it scared me and really the premise of each day getting worse seems lifted right from Blair Witch. I know a lot of people did not find that one scary (I think I did because I hate getting lost!) but I preferred that take on the found footage theme.
    Above all else thanks for sharing your opinion. I might not love the content of this movie but I love any movie that promotes debate!

  • 15 Chuckles72No Gravatar // Oct 11, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Yeah Unk, Blair Witch also scared the crap out of the campers in the crowd.  About a week after seeing BW I found myself walking through the woods at about 5:45 in the morning, heading to my favorite fishing spot which was way the hell in the middle of the woods.  I was doing fine and then I started hearing all those noises that you hear in the woods and next thing I know I’m running like a little girl – well, Usain Bolt’s little girl anyway.

  • 16 thewarfreakNo Gravatar // Oct 12, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I thought it was a decent little flick. Probably wouldn’t give it the same grace as I do if it weren’t this “little movie that could”, but it didn’t bore me to tears or anything.

  • 17 Blue SevenNo Gravatar // Oct 15, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Unkle, my friend, thanks for the response.  Fango has an article about Home Movie (which I skipped due to wanting no spoilage), looks like it’s on DVD early December.  Sounds like my cup of tea.

  • 18 TenebrousKateNo Gravatar // Oct 19, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I’d been deliberately avoiding reviews of this film till I had a chance to see it myself, and as a fan of ghost stories I was SO EAGER to get all goosebumpy.
    Sadly for BOTH of us, Unk, I agree with your review entirely.  I’ve been known to get spooked out by episodes of “Ghost Hunters,” for heaven’s sake, but “Paranormal Activity” left me unmoved.  Or–worse yet–aggravated by the characters!  I mean–I’ve had Actual Things happen to me that were creepier than the events portrayed in the movie.  No fair!
    “I just feel like I got a lap dance from someone that everybody but me is turned on by”
    That may very well be the greatest summary review of this film EVER.

  • 19 RATSAWGODNo Gravatar // Oct 25, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Just saw this tonight, and was I disapointed. Bad writing, bad acting. Actually, the scares were pretty decent, but since they account for probably 15 minutes of the total running time, there’s a lot of student film acting going on. About an hour into the movie, I turned to my fellow movie-goer and said “So, it’s about a bitchy woman and a total douchbag?”
    Pretty much sums the whole thing up.
    Yeah, the ouija board thing was pretty ridiculous. And they couldn’t even get a regular one, no, they had to get a satan style pentagram ouija. And, even if they knew leaving the house wouldn’t matter, couldn’t they have at least tried? You know, for shits and grins?
    Then after arguing (forever) about whether or not to call the demonologist (forever), they finally get original paranormal guy back… only to have him announce that he can’t stay because of the evil vibes and has to leave immediately. Then he does! In a scene lasting perhaps a minute, it’s the bad community theater performance of a lifetime! I laughed so hard I cried.

  • 20 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Oct 25, 2009 at 11:54 am


    That scene where the paranormal expert won’t come into the house was such a missed opportunity. If it was played any other way it could have added to the suspense but he just sort of shrugs and then leaves! He couldn’t even bother to act scared. People who are allergic to cats look more worried when they come to my door.

  • 21 distantsunNo Gravatar // Oct 26, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Oh, thank you– this completely sums up my experience. I’m not one of those “it’s popular/hyped, therefore it must suck” people, and I really wanted to love this movie. Hell, before I had ever even heard of it, I’d been going around saying somebody should do a Ghost Hunters-style mockumentary/found-footage thing where there actually was something spooky going on.
    I was so ready to love this and be terrified, and it just left me almost completely cold. When the final night’s footage began I kept insisting to my companions that this couldn’t possibly be the end, because nothing had happened yet. And the ending itself was startling and a bit unsettling but at the same time felt very cheap… it was like I’d paid to see a 90-minute screamer video. I looked up the original ending on Youtube and it’s actually much subtler and creepier (MILD SPOILER: showing less is almost always a better idea, and her rocking back and forth for an entire day is quite shivery), and if they’d just taken that ending and punched it up a little bit with a final scare, it would’ve been a MUCH better movie.
    Also, I second the recommendation for Home Movie— it’s quite good and much scarier than PA.

  • 22 Missy.JokerNo Gravatar // Sep 18, 2010 at 2:50 am

    so when I watched this (a while ago[last year haha]) I was literally falling asleep. our options had been paranormal activity or trick r treat….oh how i regret our decision

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