Sunday, August 25, 2013

Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity; horror, USA, 2007; D: Oren Peli, S: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloath, Mark Fredrichs

In September, Katie and her boyfriend Micah move to a new house in San Diego. However, Katie has experienced strange apparitions of ghost when she was 8 and 13 years old, and now strange noises are heard even in this house at night. Micah buys a camera and leaves it recording the bedroom the entire night. Doors are seen moving and Katie sleepwalking, but she doesn't remember anything. A psychic recommends a demonologist, but Micah persuades Katie to wait a while. One night, the camera records how Katie exits the bedroom, Micah goes after her and then he is seen catapulted several feet away and she entering back possessed.

"Paranormal Activity" gained a lot of attention and became a hit at the box office, yet the "found footage" format, which it uses itself, started to lose its dimension of awe by that time and become standard and routine. Taking on the same formula as "The Blair Witch Project", and even having a similar open ending which reveals nothing because not much was set-up as a point anyway, "Paranormal" just takes the setting from the forest into a haunted house. The concept of a couple recording their bedroom in order to catch a ghost at night is very stimulating, yet something richer could have been done from it; the dialogues are again bland for the "found footage" genre, as if a shaky camera is enough for itself whereas it is again contrived to set the whole film only from the perspective of the home camera, not also from the "neutral movie camera", since people rarely film themselves arguing or going to the toilet anyway. The first 50 minutes are slightly slow, yet the story does pick up with the powder on the floor sequence, and the moment where the couple is sleeping and all of a sudden the blanket is lifted from their bed is a refreshing example of sophisticated suspense. But alas, there is too little of that, the movie is rather thin and more could have been done to increase the suspense than just the door moving by two inches.


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