Paranormal Activity was purported to be one of the scariest films of all time. It’s suppose to be a great example of how one can achieve stardom and break the typical molds of the Hollywood film making system. Make a game for dirt-cheap and make MILLIONS of dollars.
Well, you can tell that the film was made for dirt cheap, and I don’t know HOW in a MILLION YEARS…it could have made so much money. This was genuinely one of the absolute worst horror films I have ever seen in my life. I don’t know if it was because of all the hype - or because the Blair Witch/hand held camera style has been overdone at this point in time, but I just thought that this movie was such a piece of garbage.
Let’s start with the basics - characters. Every film needs a character or two for an audience to relate to and feel empathy for. In horror films, these archetypal characters can be used for a wide array of people to care about, especially when these characters are in danger. Without characters that an audience can relate to, the story falls apart. In Paranormal Activity, the two main characters are a couple who are extremely rich and incredibly arrogant (especially Micah, the main male representation in the film). The film opens up with Katie (the woman) asking how much this brand new camera cost that her boyfriend has purchased. He says: “about half of what I made today”. This camera is thousands of dollars - immediately distancing BOTH characters from a typical audience, and there are plenty of other situations where their financial situation is stressed as being well-off.
Throughout the film, the storyline keeps stressing NOT to anger the spirit/demon of the film. What does the male do? Yell and scream and anger the spirit. At this point, I stopped caring about this film entirely. I can’t even show compassion for this couple in their situation because they don’t care about their situation. The woman keeps saying that it’s the same demon who has been terrifying her since she was 8. It never mentioned her going to a psychiatrist (even when the demon burnt down her house), or seeking medical advice. This kind of stuff was just LEFT out of the film. Sure, I’m suppose to suspend my disbelief - trust me I know all about that, I co-wrote a play about that. But this was just an unacceptable piece of rubbish that I can’t even begin to pretend I enjoyed.
Was I scared? Maybe once or twice? But I was more scared of Urban Legend than of this. It was just camera tricks and poor improvisation by the actors.
The only good thing? My name is in the credits. Go on, look for it amongst the thousands of other names that were entered in through a “thank-you” to the audience. I want them to recall the DVD and remove mine. You’re NOT welcome.