Monday, 30 November 2009

Film: Paranormal Activity

Last night I watched Paranormal Activity (clunky title), a film touted as the scariest thing EVER and certain to keep you awake at night. So I was pretty excited.
Paranormal Activity has been promoted as an on-the-cheap work of genius, made for 9K and made 50 million dollars at the box office, a Blair Witch for the zeros, a handheld horror that is really gonna shit us up.
But no. For starters, it is SLOW. Really slow. It clocks in at 1.37 and they could have cut it to an hour and it would have still been a little flabby. The couple are unlikeable. Not a problem in a way; let’s watch them suffer. But they are actually really annoying. The girl is whiney, and the boyfriend is a complete idiot- and I mean an utter tosser. To the pair of them: Just LEAVE THE HOUSE. Get in the car and GO.
Nothing happens for at least half an hour (and I’m being generous), and when it does, it’s just a few bumps, interspersed with the pair of them arguing and moaning. The psychic guy isn’t much bloody use either. There are a couple of bits later on that will make you jump, and the end is quite sinister, but it wasn’t worth it.
Good things; a female lead who is normal-sized and the house is quite scary. That’s about it. It’s just nowhere near frightening enough. I want to be terrifed!
This reminded me of Rec. in that there was too much chat, not enough horror/ fear. For handheld camera joy, go see Cloverfield if you haven’t already. For genuine terror, go watch Eden Lake. Then never go to the shops again, as the sight of a chav will give you a panic attack.
No idea why this has got such good reviews. I’ve seen it all a million times, and the story line isn’t that well realised either. The ‘this film is gleaned from police video’ schtick might have worked on a 90s audience; we’re a bit too knowing now. Personally, I prefer Paranormal Attack.


* (asterisk) said...

I have (or had) some interest in this, but only because I love lo-fi film-making. Speaking of real terror, have you seen the French movie Switchblade Romance (aka Haute Tension, aka High Tension)?

Shep said...

Watched it on Halloween and really enjoyed it, in a kindof 'oh I see this is the new Blair Witch Project' way.

(Although when you think that I sometimes watch Gossip Girl for fun, you'll know there's very little quality control here in quiet Devon...)