Sunday, December 6, 2009
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY / **
Release Date: September 25, 2009
Running Time: 1 hrs. 39 min.
MPAA Rating: R
Ten years ago, “The Blair Witch Project” arrived in theaters and completely threw audiences for a loop. Many believed that the footage was legitimately “found” footage of some creepy stuff that happened a while ago in New England. On a budget of $60,000 it pulled in $140.5 million domestically, becoming the surprise hit of the summer.
A similar hit sprung up this year, as “Paranormal Activity” was unleashed on frightened audiences nationwide. On a $15,000 budget it has raked in $107.1 million to date. It was filmed in the same “found footage” style that “Blair Witch” was, thus the comparisons are inevitable.
The film takes place all in one location – the house that Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston share together (both actors use their real names in the movie). They’ve been dating for three years, and are “engaged to be engaged.” Micah and Katie certainly make a believable couple, which is a testament to them as actors. Unfortunately it was also the movie’s biggest hindrance, since real-life couples are not exciting or interesting to watch in any way. Since their normal, day-time interactions take up about half of the movie, that’s a lot of time I spent checking my watch.
Fortunately, the movie does pick up once Katie reveals that she has been haunted by some unseen force throughout her life. Micah decides that setting up a camera in the bedroom to catch this alleged Paranormal Activity will somehow solve the problem. The scenes caught by the camera at night are very well done, and generate some genuine terror. Unfortunately these scenes don’t seem to last as long as the daytime scenes, in which the couple bickers over what to do about the spirit in front of the shaky hand-held camera that makes me ill.
The ending also wasn’t as satisfying as I was hoping it would be. Naturally I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen the film yet and wants to. I was definitely in the minority in not liking the film that much, and even with that being said, I admire the fact that they made a movie on their own for peanuts and it wound up being such a big hit.
Theater: RDM Westroads 14, Omaha, NE
Time: 8:10 pm