Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'Paranormal Activity'... Paranormal Lethargy!

Movie Review written by Dan Collacott

The bad
You know the one, young middleclass American couple decide to buy expensive camcorder (they already have the audio equipment of course) to document the paranormal activities going on in their really large house (yes i live i London, yes i can't afford a big house or a pro-camcorder and I'm not bitter at all!).

The obligatory cocky boyfriend - is not so much a non-believer but definitely seems to ape the spirit/entity, calling it out/mocking it etc (at one point he waves his johnson at it and says - 'suck on this Satan' the version in my head anyway).

His girlfriend holds the key to the naughty spirit that has followed her around her entire life although in truth the back story to events is waffffer thin. The Derek Acorah character that gets called in duly bricks it/legs it but not before he gives the couple the number of his more hardcore demon busting friend in case the poop hits the fan.  But when it all kicks off and said friend gets contacted by the couple, it turns out he is on location in Peru doing the 'Most Haunted' Christmas special. So we never get a lovely big exorcism (just a bit of footage on the web).

The good
The low budget documentary style is incredibly effective at times and the way it is cut together does build a tremendous amount of tension and suspense. You can forgive the lack of acting talent and plot for the actual footage they capture and how well this works as a medium for horror. Ok so it's nothing original - Blair Witch did it..... maybe even better, there are few actual moments that make you jump out of your skin but certain elements of the film do stay with you afterwards (I slept in the cat's basket for three nights). There are also four endings out there - of which i have only seen one but I do know what happens in at least one other and I'm guessing that another may involve The Chuckle Brothers forcing the spirit out of the house with a series of carefully choreographed slap stick skits.

The ugly
Considering the above I think they could have used subliminal flashes and more minor goings on in the footage to enhance the more weighty events that roll in at the end. All the very runny plot points could genuinely have been expanded on to the extent that the film might have had pretty decent story arc. Instead the back story seemed to be an after thought brought about when the main script editor sat on the bog post production and went 'Sh*t Perry - we need to give this demon some balls'..... (I don't know who Perry is either - but i'm sure he worked on the film and was American).

Anyway despite the negatives there is just enough originality and good points to make this film worth watching out of pure curiosity even if it is overhyped.  5/10

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