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Paranormal Activity
Seraphyna
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Post: #1
Paranormal Activity
I just saw Paranormal Activity...and it was really good. It's filmed in such a way that it seems entirely real. It was quite creepy and I have to admit that the ending did kind of scare me (I was happy I saw it during the day). It definitely stays with you and makes you wonder if it was someone's actual footage that was found and made into a movie and what the writer and director had experienced to make it seem so real. I highly recommend seeing it. I was just happy that, even though it's from a hand held camera sort of perspective, the camera is stationary or not too shakey for most of the movie so it didn't pull a Cloverfield and have me nauseated. So yeah, good movie for Halloween, go see it <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue -->


It also makes a good case for why you don't goad negative entities...


Has anyone else seen it yet? What did you think?

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"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost."-Tolkien
"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."-Poe
2009-10-18 17:32
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Malakoi
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Post: #2
Re: Paranormal Activity
It was tense, and well executed. Definitely creepy, although the ending was a bit contrived. I'd probably give it a 4 out of 5 stars. And, considering that it went in a completely different direction than Saw VI and with a fraction of the budget, I liked it a lot. I don't want to give spoilers but there was one thing that actually CREEPED me out. XP

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2009-10-21 2:46
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Seraphyna
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Post: #3
Re: Paranormal Activity
Yeah...I kept replaying the ending in my head and had trouble getting to sleep lol.

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"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."-Poe
2009-10-21 3:39
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Archer
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Post: #4
Re: Paranormal Activity
I just read a fairly detailed summary (I don't much watch horror films any more, but this seemed interesting so I wanted to see what it was about).

From that, it seemed like there was a great central frightening concept and some of the execution sounds brilliant (increasing tension with increasingly strange/disturbing things happening), but a possible plausability gap. (Eg certain extremely creepy things being taped, but no-one saying "WTF WAS THAT!" . . . which only makes sense if the people aren't watching any of the tapes.)

Based on the summary, I at first was thinking it isn't even a story as such because lots of scary things happen but the protagonists don't actually do anything - things happen to them and from the summary they make no actual choices and take no real action themselves (even on an emotional/relationship level). So the only characters aren't actually characters at all. But then it occurred to me that you could also look at it as the demon being the protagonist, in which case it's a piece of genius having a protagonist who doesn't really appear. Though I think that's a little contrived and probably not supported by the text.

Anyway, based on reading a detailed summary, it sounds like it has some significant flaws but is nevertheless very, very entertaining.

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2009-10-21 13:17
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Post: #5
Re: Paranormal Activity
Well, honestly, I think that you can't fully enjoy it unless you see it without knowing much/anything about it. If I had heard any spoilers about what happens before seeing it, I wouldn't have been nearly as effected because it's the tension, mood, suspense, context that makes the piece.
Also, yes, the couple doesn't do MUCH, but then.. what can you do about a haunting that follows a person, regardless of zir location? They did what they could, short of leaving, which wouldn't have solved the problem anyway.
Also, because of the ending (there were multiple endings written, some better and more convincing than others) in the final cut, I would say that the demon is the protagonist. It becomes increasingly obvious throughout the film that the demon is taking more dramatic and obvious actions because it's aware that it's being recorded.
The acting was very convincing, though there are moments of "Really? Would he really grab the camera right then?" and the boyfriend's general lack of concern is very odd, but he changes his tune when the first really huge thing happens.
A few critics that I read said that it delivered where The Blair Witch Project failed to do so, and I think I agree. =D

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2009-10-21 23:30
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Post: #6
Re: Paranormal Activity
Blair Witch = Emperor's New Clothes.

Here's my thing about taking action.

If the couple had done something to actively provoke the demon (either through aggression or stupidity), then what happens to them would be the result of their own choices. But do they have any choices? The woman is being haunted by the demon (I don't know if there's ever any explanation of why), they record things, and it escalates. From the breakdown I read, it didn't seem like there was any way they could have affected the escalation (as the recording wasn't immediately met with violence). More of a case of "A demon is possessing you, it doesn't really have a good reason, but you're fucked regardless."

I'm not saying that's not scary - and if the point is mainly to evoke feelings of terror it sounds like it did an awesome job. I'm just saying it sounds that from the point of view of "story" (ie characters being faced with choices and acting to achieve their ends) it seems lacking.

Exactly as with Blair Witch. Go into the woods and you'll dieeeee a horrible scary death. Why? Who knows! Maybe there's time travel, or possession, or maybe it was Josh or maybe it wasn't. Hey, let's just not bother thinking any of it through and then claim that it's ambiguity and part of the mystery! Yawn!

Blair Witch didn't actually scare me, though. Being lost in the woods and attacked by some evil thing isn't inherantly scary because every fool knows that's what happens when you go into the woods. Paranormal Activity sounds a lot more scary though because in one's bed, in one's home, asleep, is the place where we like to feel we are most safe. So being faced with an enemy that is beyond one's capacity to fight, in that situation, is terrifying all by itself. The breakdown also implied there was a strong emphasis on the uncanny (ie things being almost "right", but wrong enough that it's disturbing - hair blowing when it shouldn't, a wrongly modulated voice, inhuman footprints etc).

I think the main problem I have with PA on a story level - and I know a lot of these issues might be dealt with if I actually saw it, heh - is the lack of development. "Woman possessed by demon who escalated haunting until BOOO!" is a great concept. But I want to know why the demon is doing any of this? Why did it target her, and why did it go from being slightly creepy to outright nuts? Why didn't the couple try always having one stay awake and watch over the other? What actually happens at the end? It's a creative choice to leave that many questions unanswered, but IMO it is often a fairly cowardly one. Like the Cube, for example - the entire film consists of the "cool premise" of people trying to find their way out of the various traps . . . but the creative team forgot to attach any actual story or motivation to it.

On the other hand, I thought The Ring did an awesome job of that same "uncanny" terror, and of people being overtaken by horrific events that they feel they have no control over. IMO it succeeded as a story, as well as just a horror film, because the mystery of the girl in the well was explained (and this did not negate the terror of the concept) and everyone from the girl to the victims had coherent motivation.

But like I said, I haven't seen PA and all my opinions are based on a single synopsis of it, lol. I also think Saving Private Ryan is one of the most sensationalised, glamorised, and over-rated war films I've ever seen, and walked out of the cinema saying as much <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue -->

Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas

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2009-10-22 0:08
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Seraphyna
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Post: #7
Re: Paranormal Activity
The boyfriend actively goads the demon...he taunts it, uses a ouija board in theory opening a portal into their home even wider, and encourages it to manifest.

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2009-10-22 2:14
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Post: #8
Re: Paranormal Activity
We should put a spoiler alert up now. XD The ouja board scene was the first thing that really indicates how much the demon is in it for the limelight. XP

And you do make a good argument, Archer, about the storyline (or lack thereof) but there are some bits that you're missing.

SPOILERS

They do take a number of actions that provoke the demon. Firstly, the presence of the camera itself almost immediately starts the escalation process. Then they call in a psychic to help them determine what is causing the weirdness and why. The psychic explains that it's not a ghost, but a demon and that it probably "wants Katie" (the girlfriend) but tells them that he's not comfortable doing anything about it and refers them to a demonologist. They argue a good deal about whether or not to bring in the demonologist, and decide to a bit too late. Also, the entire film takes place over about 3 weeks, so the majority of that time is "Okay, this is weird, something is definitely going on but we should find out more before we call in an exorcist, which might just make it worse". And, as Seraphyna pointed out, the boyfriend repeatedly insults and calls out the demon, tries different experiments to see what they're dealing with, and generally makes a big show of being in control and unafraid. They end up calling the psychic back and upon arriving he tells them that he can tell his presence is provoking the demon further, that he must leave. That night, one of the most dramatic actions taken by the demon occurs.
They do address the question regarding why the demon is interested in Katie, but don't come to a conclusion.

Meh. Even if the story itself is lackluster, the concept and execution were still dynamite. XP

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2009-10-22 4:17
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Post: #9
Re: Paranormal Activity
I watched it last night. Didn't even phase me. The guy pissed me off. That was it. I honestly thought it was pretty lame.

~Zola.

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2009-10-24 20:06
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Post: #10
Re: Paranormal Activity
lol i would go see it if i heard that there was a good story to it...but i haven't...so i wont. It needs a good story so that if it doesn't scare me that there is something to make the movie worth watching. My preferred moves out now would be Planet 51 and Zombieland because i heard they funnyTongue

Archer Wrote:But like I said, I haven't seen PA and all my opinions are based on a single synopsis of it, lol. I also think Saving Private Ryan is one of the most sensationalised, glamorised, and over-rated war films I've ever seen, and walked out of the cinema saying as much <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue -->

How about Black Hawk Down, or The Hunt for Red October? O_o

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2009-10-31 15:14
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