For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Found Footage Movies, here’s a review of Paranormal Activity (2007) by Damien of Flashback/Backslide
Thanks again to Tim of FilmFunkel for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Natasha of Life of This City Girl We will be reviewing our favorite Sci-Fi Movies.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of January by sending them to email@example.com Try to think out of the box! Great choice Natasha!
Let’s see what Damien thought of this movie:
Coming in with a wave of late 2000’s found footage films, Paranormal Activity follows Katie and Micah as they are tormented by an unseen demon. In an attempt to capture these events Micah starts a 24/7 filming venture to monitor the couple. Before I go any further I need to say that Micah is one of the most obnoxious characters I’ve seen in a very long time. Which means that Katie Featherston, the actress playing Katie, must work extra hard to convince us that she loves a man who can’t stop talking to his camera and complimenting his guitar.
Part of this annoyance comes from plot requirements. For the found footage device to work, Micah needs to grab the camera before he can run to a screaming Katie. And instead of consoling her, he stands back and film her tears. This requirement also compromises another found footage schtick: that these are real people and not actors. So by leading us to believe the in-film fact that the leads are “real” people, the movie also makes them unlikable as they behave in unbelievable ways.
For 86 minutes Paranormal Activity is a test of patience. Watching long scenes with almost no activity becomes maddening well before the halfway mark. Even the ending plays out benignly compared to standard non-found footage horrors and many others in the genre. Paranormal Activity doesn’t scare us. It makes us watch people being scared. Which is not the same thing.
Maybe my issue is desensitization, both with found footage and horror in general. But there just isn’t much to see here which makes its popularity so confusing. This movie made an absurdly high $108 million, just less than Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Neill Blomkamp’s District 9. Throw in worldwide gross and the total climbs to $193 million against its reported $15,000 budget. And we’ve had a sequel nearly every year since 2007. That’s nearly ten years of random noises and static screens I can’t wrap my head around.