Movie Review: Paranormal Activity


by Cynthia Rodriguez

HAPPY HALLOWEEN my fellow Lesbiatopians (and allies & friends of Lesbiatopians)! And HAPPY SAMHAIN to my fellow Wiccan Lesbiatopians! I figure since a lot of Lesbians have a tendency towards paganism beliefs as much as vegetarianism and Doc Martens I thought the spiritual shout-out would be appropriate.

To celebrate this glorious and much misunderstood holiday I thought it would be loads of fun to kick off my favorite day of the year by dipping my toes into the bloody pool of HORROR MOVIE REVIEWING.

Yes, girls and ghouls, consider this my official, on-line debut of the creepy, spooky, scary, heebie-jeebie world of horror films. My favorite genre of movies. Well, that and porn, but I will get to that at another time. I realize not everyone is a fan. For those of you who pretty much abhor horror films, please skip to the next blog. Just for the record, I have done a horror movie review once, years ago for a local paper who asked me to do that, it came out pretty decent so I thought, "what the hell?, I'll do it again..." So here goes...


Directed by Oren Peli

No one can deny this little mockumentary horror movie that could. This over hyped film with it's 7 day shoot and $15,000 budget with no name actors (that use their real names in the film) and first time director with no formal training has thrown the country into an insomnia frenzy.

I went to see this a couple of weeks ago with two friends of mine. Their very different reactions to the film was probably the most entertaining part for me. One practically cackled with laughter through most of the film, the other I believed would have missed half of the movie if I weren't there to constantly nudge her to open her eyes, covering her face with her jacket. That's when she stopped holding the popcorn for us and held up her apparel like a shield. Of course, afterwards, the one who covered her eyes claimed the movie was only "20% scary", although she admitted to not be able to sleep for three days. The other one who had the attack of the giggles, apparently had some issues sleeping that night as well. It is a well known fact that laughter is a common coping mechanism when people watch scary movies. It helps them deal. As for myself, fortunetly when I turned off my light at night when I went to bed, I probably thought about it all for a few seconds until my head hit the pillow, then I slept like a rock. I must confess though, I did make sure my blanket covered my feet...

I didn't know much about "Paranormal Activity" when I went to see it, and it wasn't exactly on my "must see" list for the Fall. It's been 10 years since we've ALL been gipped by the hype of a low budget, "is it real? is it real??", home movie style fright flick where the camera work makes you a bit dizzy. Yes, it IS the new Blair Witch Project. And yes, I was one of the many idiots who thought the Blair Witch Project was real, until I saw the actors on MTV. I even bought a book about it, and was even planning a trip to Burkittsville, Maryland. I'm glad I didn't go. The "scariest" things I probably would have encountered would have been a bunch of local teenagers playing pranks on tourists, and bumping into campers having unprotected sex and smoking pot in the woods. So they got me with that one, but I wasn't gonna fall for it THIS time, no sir.

Except for a brief special appearance by a paranormal expert, the movie is basically a cast of two, three if you include the "demon spirit". It follows the couple's few weeks adventure in trying to figure out all the "WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?" noises and strange goings-on in their abode. Armed only with their home video camera, we get in inside glimpse of the spirit's constant shenanigans against the freaked out couple. Things escalate overall affecting the couple's relationship and way of life in general.

The suspense, the waiting for something to happen, the it's too quiet kind of feeling then wham, bam, a door slams is what gets you. Also knowing that these types of experiences really do happen to people, that it's not impossible, also creeps people out. I have personally experienced paranormal activity myself. I'm a believer.

It was a little funny, too. The smart-ass male character Micah Sloat mostly brings the comic relief to the film while it's mostly the female in the film, Katie Featherston dealing with the brunt of the spiritual harrasment. Well, kinda.

Apparently, there are some alternate endings floating around on-line. I read about them, but I have yet to see them. I'm sure they will be included in the special features section of the DVD which will probably be out by Christmas. I'm sure it will include that and most likely some type of commentary by some famous psychics or ghost hunters or something ...

Props to the Director Oren Peli for not giving up on his little film that was actually released two years ago. I wish I could create something like this and make mega bucks out of it.

I've also heard rumors of, of course, a sequel. Paranormal Activity 2. Just like with Blair Witch Project 2. They gotta get greedy about it and fuck it up.

I have to share quick a couple of lines from other (mixed) reviews I read about it I thought were really good (from two different sources):

"...half the time I was hoping that it would kill the couple and move to a house with better actors..."

"Will this movie make you afraid to go to sleep , or put you to sleep?"


Love it or hate it, everybody knows this will become a cult classic, and the actors will probably end up signing autographs at horror movie festivals.

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