Monday, October 25, 2010

Para Normal Activity.

What did you see over the weekend? Care to share?

The only movie I managed to catch, on a total whim, was the original Paranormal Activity on Instant Watch just as the new one was packing them in at the box office. Hey, I've never claimed to be current with horror. I am totally not that guy. So here I am talking about a year after its sell-by date! I'm not in the now. I am beyond time.

See, even when I do catch horror movies in the theater (rarely) I tend to wait until I feel like I have to see it (due to overwhelming acclaim or whatnot) and thus I get there at the tail end of the run when it's already "over."... like The Descent. I had the theater to myself for that one which is C-R-E-E-P-Y.

I am easily scared but despite a few really good jolts, a pleasingly low-fi approach and that super creepy repeat scene of the girlfriend standing by the bed for hours on end in the middle of the night, Paranormal didn't really get to me. I had no trouble sleeping afterwards. Maybe it was the now ancient and probably nostalgia-boosted memories of The Blair Witch Project (which I saw in a huge cavernous freezing cold theater late at night) that spoiled the experience by comparison or maybe it was the lack of a theatrical crowd to heighten the fear by proximity. But I also think I just had trouble suspending disbelief. People being scared and making stupid decisions in the middle of the woods feels plausible to me. I too would lose my mind. But in the suburbs? I would totally always be having people over or I would just not be hanging out around my house and I sure as hell wouldn't stay in the house when there are so many other options of places to be.


Were you part of the huge box office haul for Paranormal Activity 2? I was reading the box office reports and thinking oh here we go again. When is this genre going to slow down? Most genres are cyclical but horror has been going strong for an awful lot of years now. This bit in the report is annoying
The sequel to last year's ultra-low budget viral blockbuster opened to a surprisingly strong $41.5 million at theaters in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, demonstrating that fans are willing to come to a studio-produced quickie follow-up to an indie hit if it's done well.
Correct me if I'm wrong but when people actually pay tickets for a franchise movie on opening weekend -- totally normal behavior -- it has nothing to with "if it's done well." No one knows that it is. Opening weekend purchases are an act of faith, not a reward for quality.

Pet peeve. Had to get that out.

I understand that Paranormal Activity 2 takes place concurrently with this one? So it's neither a prequel nor a traditional sequel... so what's the word for that? We need a new word. "Equel"?
*

30 comments:

Mike F said...

I would say most people that liked the first one will probably like the sequel too. It does expand and add some depth to the story. I was kind of indifferent to both of them as films, but they were a pretty fun theater experience. Can't really imagine wanting to ever rewatch either of them at home.

Julian Stark said...

The majority of Paranormal Activity 2 takes place before the first film; a few minutes at the end take place directly after.

It takes a lot of the fun out of the first film IMHO. Wasn't scary at all (the first film scared me, though). There were a few scenes that were laugh-inducing actually.

I bet the third film (it's practically and inevitability) is something of an origin story.

Glenn said...

I enjoyed the first one greatly, but I saw it at the earliest screening held in Australia (that I recall), which was subsequently after all the big hubbub that it caused in America so people knew all about it.

I intend to see the sequel tomorrow.

Glenn said...

Another thing: Yes, horror has been "in" for a long time, it should also be said that so has comedy, but like comedy horror just changes its methods. I'm sure Scream 4 next year (the original kicked off the horror boom 15 years ago after a lull in the mid '90s) we'll see another shift in the type of horror titles being made.

NicksFlickPicks said...

"Equel" is genius.

jazzt said...

I went to see the second movie only because the baby in the trailer intrigued me.
Like Julian said, it wasn't scary in the slightest. Maybe there was one scene that made everyone jump.
The supposed "scary" bits were what had the audience laughing.
oh well. glad i didn't pay for my visit.

and Nathaniel, wait until it airs on TV

The third one? oh dear me

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Iggy said...

Buried. I went to see it expecting to be disappointed by the hype, but instead I found it was a pretty solid thriller with just one (terrific) man, a phone and a coffin (no flashbacks, no tricks) that kept me highly entertained for one hour and a half and that can also have a political reading.

3 and a half coffins (out of five).

Dan said...

Watched Superman III. It's beyond scary that the Superman III script was ever given the green light!

film izle said...

porfect. Verry good exprience

MRRIPLEY said...

I hope this doesn't go on and on and on like the saw franchise.

Middle-P said...

Saw Blue Valentine...two ridiculously strong lead performances...very natural feeling...would have liked a bigger climax...

SPOILER ALERT...

In regards to the nc-17 rating, I felt the only thing that would even remotely be questionable is when Michelle Williams' character is in the Dr.s office...everything else was standard R.

Middle-P said...

Saw conviction also...thought swank and rockwell were both really strong but that was more due to the compelling nature of the story and their reallife counterparts...minnie driver I feel was best in show... weak direction, editing, and writing though...

RJ said...

Honestly, I think there's no reason to see the first one unless you're in theatres. It made me jump a number of time, but seeing it on a small screen wouldn't have had near the same impact. On the big screen, you kept looking all over to try to see what little thing was going to happen.

Tab said...

I saw CONVICTION on Friday. Meh, okay...but more Juliette Lewis please!!!! On Saturday I finally saw HOWL (slow start...got better, but nothing special...didn't realize how much of it was animated) The funniest thing was the woman of a certain age in front of me asking what RED was? The employee described the film, the woman said, "That looks stupid.." and then proceeded to buy a ticket to see it!!!

chris na Taraja said...

They could call is "Paranormal Also" or "Paranormal Too".

I too saw the BLAIR WITCH in a big cold theatre, and honestly I've seen reality TV that was scarier than that....I mean have you seen THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY!?

chris na Taraja said...

Oh, and I watched BOOGIE NIGHTS and enjoyed it and was horrified just as much as the first time around. That second half could be considered a horror flick. Then again, we could talk about how closely related Porn and Horror are as a genre.

They both have people making stupid choices where the obvious is going to happen.

Bill_the_Bear said...

I caught three new films this weekend:

"Buried"--and I second Iggy's description;

"Stone"--Jovovich was good, as was Norton, but De Niro was boring, and there was far too much religious claptrap in the script;

"The Infidel"--an interesting look at part of the Muslim community in the UK, but could have been better. The "trick" ending was a bit forced.

OtherRobert said...

It's not an issue of suspending disbelief. Believe me, I think the Saw films make more sense as each successive implausible entry is added and think Exorcist II: The Heretic is misunderstood by cynics.

No. The problem with Paranormal Activity is a bunch of people got suckered in by a clever marketing campaign (Demand It in your theater) and thought they had to like it. This, combined with the release date (a week before Halloween) and the general unpopularity of haunted house/ghost films in modern American cinema led many to have an inflated view of this film for being different. It's not.

If you want a scary ghost story, either look international and contemporary or go back in time to the black and white era of Hollywood horror. The Pang Brothers in Hong Kong, for example, are doing some of the most inventive things with ghost stories right now and they have access to huge budgets. Really worth seeking out Re-Cycle if you want to see how inventive a modern ghost film can be.

Roark said...

I'm the same way with horror movies. I was recently the only one at a screening of Let Me In, and I think the same was true when I saw Land of the Dead a few years back. It's not a great way to watch a horror film - or maybe it's the best way to watch them. I don't know.

Speaking of horror movies, I saw THE KILLER INSIDE ME this weekend, which is quite disturbing and ugly - intentionally so, I'm sure, but still.

Andrew R. said...

Liked the first one. It's a suspense film, not a horror film, and that is why people didn't like it.

I may or may not see the (s)equel.

NATHANIEL R said...

bill -- i saw the infidel too. Pretty funny in spots but i agree about the ending. I attended a Q&A and originally the ending was much more in keeping with the dark tone of all the best satires. In other words: not a happy ending at all but pitch black,

OtherRobert said...

Andrew R: suspense films typically have, you know, suspense. Story. Characters. Line-readings that don't take eight shots for one sentence. Pacing. And something happening on screen. Hitchcock made suspense films, Paranormal Activity made a marketing campaign.

Criticlasm said...

What did I see? I posted more on my blog, but I saw the new Woody Allen movie which was so awful it actually made me angry. Yuck. In my top worst movies ever list.

Nick Duval said...

I saw "Tender Son: The Frankenstein Project" and "A Screaming Man," neither of which were amazing, but both definitely had good moments and attributes.

Andrew R. said...

@OtherRobert-To each his own, I guess. I'm not saying PA was a masterpiece of suspense, but I personally wanted to see what happened.

Derreck said...

This blog inspired my choices last weekend.

Dogville because i've heard so much about it and then The Hunchback of Notre Dame after talking about Frollo's song, 'Hellfire'.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Just watched the first one myself. Thought it was well-done *technically*, but I really didn't care for the leads, and that final shot irritated me. Too much, I thought.

Andrew R. said...

BTW, even if you don't like Paranormal Activity, you should be grateful to it. Why? Because now Saw 7 will be the last Saw film. At last...no more!

Anonymous said...

What the previous commenter said is kind of strange. Could someone explain?
No more hate, no more love. Just be, and everything will make sense. (not)
Do you really have experience in this field? If so, I would like to ask you a few questions.
I'm not sure I agree with you on some key points. Do you allow guest blog posts? I'd love to write on this topic.

Discoveries are made by not following instructions.