Paranormal Activity

Rating – **1/2

“Paranormal activity” is a fitting description of the film’s own box office performance. The hype machine has been telling us for weeks – it cost nothing, it made a fortune in the US, oh and by the way, it’s the “scariest film of all time!” Well, I can’t argue with the “event movie” status. The cinema was packed with the genuine atmosphere of a shared group experience. The only problem is… I wasn’t scared. I don’t say this in an attempt to sound macho. Honestly, I’ll freely admit I’m scared by most things, including the dark. So I found the whole experience of watching this film bemusing. All around me everyone else seemed to be loosing their minds, but more than anything I was laughing.

Admittedly, the central concept of a malicious demon spirit tormenting a young couple in their own home is inherently scary. It’s a perfect situation to exploit our deepest fears. But it really just boils down to creaking floorboards, doors slamming, and the subwoofers getting a workout… wash rinse repeat until a nasty yet hollow climax. Exactly a decade since The Blair Witch Project, the influential and vastly superior father of this shaky-cam horror sub genre, this doesn’t represent any progress. With no deep or complex themes to explore, this films only goal is to scare you. That’s cool, I’m up for that. But it’s really not that scary. It’s eerie and it has its moments. But beneath the surface it’s as transparent as a poltergeist. Anybody looking for this year’s definitive horror experience should check out Sam Raimi’s utterly brilliant Drag Me to Hell instead.

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~ by thewholebuffalo on December 7, 2009.

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