Saturday, November 7, 2009

Everybody Have Fun Tonight. Everybody Wang Chung Tonight.

Paranormal Activity


First of all for my excuses, I did not watch this movie in the atmosphere that the film makers probably thought it should be watched in. I was at my office desk in the middle of the day after lunch, trying hard to listen closely to every little sound that would occur over the noise of people walking around and talking everywhere (aka working).

Second of all, OF COURSE this movie is compared heavily to "The Blair Witch Project", the movie that was released 10 years earlier, under SIMILAR pretenses and filming styles. I was not scared of "The Blair Witch Project", not even a little bit. I am much more scared of the stories of the "White Lady" and stuff told between friends and the such.

I didn't think this movie was scary. I know everyone is going to say that it's because I didn't watch it right, and if I had seen it at night, and had to go home and think about it at the end of the night, I'd be scared of it. I'm pretty sure that would have happened. Lots of times, just randomly, I think of these things anyway. I don't need a movie to make the Boogey (does that spelling make anyone else think of "boogers"?) Man come out and night... at least in my mind. Movies like this just make it seem as if my imagination is true to life, because it's happened to people. REALLY IT DID. Maybe the thing that really scared me the most is the fact that they claim the paranormal activity is a demon. Dude. I'm Catholic. I'm not devout, but I believe on the basis of faith. That means I believe that God exists, Jesus exists, Satan exists, and all the other "paranormal" beings that inhabit my faith and religion (angels, demons, etc.). If I really thought about it though, if Satan is the Fallen Angel, Lucifer...aren't all the demons and what not who do the bidding of the Lord of the Flies just fallen angels who thought they were going to rule Heaven? I guess in the end though, that has nothing to do with the power they MAY have over mere human mortals.

After thinking about my lack of fear and going back and taking another look at a couple of scenes, I have come up with the following list of things that helped me not be as scared as I should have been.


This will be my biggest complaint here. The dude started out promising. He went and got a camera to document the creepy, unexplained things happening around his house. He continued this mind set, documenting EVERYTHING on the basis that it NEEDED to be documented or else people wouldn't believe it. I applaud that logic whole heartedly. He's right. If later in the movie, they tried to prove it to someone who didn't believe, they'd be thinking, "Darn! Why didn't we think to record any of this stuff?" Micah beat it to the punch. However, he quickly became a douche.

I get the whole "tough guy" act that he put on. For one thing, his girlfriend was honestly scared of whatever demonic forces were at work here, believing that it's followed her around since she was a young girl. You have to put on the tough guy act in order to put her at ease and, as much as possible, make her feel like you could protect her. For another thing, maybe Micah was a little bit scared also, but didn't want to believe it or show it. Thus he puts on the charade of being a tough guy to show his woman he's not scared, and to show himself as well. BUT...he took it too far. He didn't want to ask for help. He taunted the demon into pushing them farther (I think he even said this one time, plus other phrases like "come and get it", etc.). This is not an episode of The Simpsons Tree House of Horror where Bart taunts "The Shining" House into making it bleed blood on his command because he owns the house (I love that episode. What a perfect argument against the unholy terrors in the night.). I don't care if it's YOUR house, big man. Who cares? You think the demon cares that your name is on the deed to the property? Is the demon saying to himself, "Well, shit, he's paying the mortgage and he has all these official documents. He MUST be able to protect the house against my powers. I guess I should stop." Yeah, basically, he took the act too far and made himself a wholly unbelievable character as the movie went on. Even if I liked his baby powder idea (but what was the point of that? To prove it was really there to themselves? They didn't believe it already?).

Near the end, once Katie is starting to lose will power and control of herself, what was Micah's deal with the cross? Katie was catatonic and had a cross in her hand, and her hand was bloody. Micah freaks and takes the cross and cleans Katie up, exclaiming that he has had enough. So what is his defiant step to show he's had enough? He takes the cross.... And throws it into the fire place. Right. That's going to help. The cross is a symbol of evil, demonic forces, and Katie didn't pick it up because she was trying to protect herself from the evil; the evil possessed her and made her pick it up because crosses just make the demon feel at home. Dude. Why would you throw a cross into a fire? I don't care if you're Christian or not; you know what a cross symbolizes, and it's not evil, demonic forces.


I did. I often do this to myself. I'm sitting there enjoying a movie, but then something happens to my subconscious mind. I catch something in the movie, something small and trivial. Maybe I was meant to catch it, maybe I wasn't. But as soon as it moved from my subconscious to my conscious mind, I developed a hypothesis to what would occur later in the movie, and I was right 100% of the time. I'm not saying I'm super perceptive or more so than everyone else; there are plenty of other people who caught these things in the movie also and came to the same conclusions. I'm just saying, whenever this happens to me, it always ruins the movie and its ending, and I end up not liking the movie as much as I thought I should have.

One of the earlier nights, Katie, seemingly sleep walking (or something...), gets up out of bed, turns around, and stares at Micah. The video is shown to be fast forwarded, though still showing the scene captured, 3-ish hours ahead, and she's still standing there, looking at Micah. Then she goes downstairs. Micah finally wakes up, and chases her, finds her outside (I originally thought maybe she drowned in the pool, but why would you kill half of your characters 40 minutes into the movie?) catatonic, and then in the morning, she doesn't remember a single thing. HYPOTHESIS: Katie is being possessed by the demon already. In the future, she will be possessed more severely, and will do something bad to Micah (and not in the kinky, sexual way). CONCLUSION: Mike, you were right.

The knife scene. Yeah, it happened all of 3 minutes into the movie, and that's a bit early to call it foreshadowing (or is it?), but there's just something about seeing a knife in a movie of this genre (a large, shiny, pointy knife..) that automatically makes me think, "Someone is going to get stabbed with that knife." It didn't help that the person holding it was Micah (keeping the knife waving in my subconscious mind, then later realizing that I hate Micah equals I think subconsciously think Micah SHOULD be stabbed with a knife) and he was waving it around so carefree and recklessly. HYPOTHESIS (sort of): I wish Micah would be stabbed by that knife because I hate him so much of the person that he chooses to be. CONCLUSION: Mike, you were right. Micah, you get shanked.

Like all dudes (myself included), Micah associates all things paranormal with the Parker Bros. marketing masterpiece, the Ouijia board. "Man, there's some crazy spirits stuff going on here. Hey, maybe they want to talk to us. Let's talk to them! How do we do that? Hey, there's a Ouijia board at Wal-Mart for $20! The Ghostbusters had it all wrong. All you needed was $20 worth of cardboard and plastic." But when he mentions it to Katie, she automatically rejects the idea, just as I thought a woman would. And then she does ANOTHER thing that I knew a woman would do in this case: she makes him promise that he will not buy a Ouijia board. But! Aha! What does Micah do??? Thinks like a dude. He does promise that he will not BUY Ouijia board. What does he do? He BORROWS one. No, Katie, he did not disobey you! He took you at your word! Thinks like a dude. HYPOTHESIS: Micah will borrow or find or rent a Ouijia board from someone/somewhere, and bad things will happen. CONCLUSION: Ouijia board gets set on fire, and tells you about a girl who killed herself through demonic possession. Things are not looking well for yall two.

This one is my favorite. The couple starts fighting more and more as the movie progresses! Yeah, it's just like a couple to do that, and yeah, they're dealing with a stressful situation therefore they are entitled to arguments, but do not forget that this is still a movie. More often than not, in movies, when couples start arguing more and more and more, and the situation doesn't change, and they don't change how they perceive and react the unchanging situation, this is going to end in some bad way where they will not be together anymore. And the fact that Katie is the one who is being possessed by forces superior to those of mere men doesn't make me feel too confident in Micah winning the eventual, point-of-no-return fight. HYPOTHESIS: Katie is going to win this fight. CONCLUSION: Micah is dead; Katie is alive, albeit, possessed and guilty of murder. I still call that a win.

All in all, I'm sure the writers and producers and director of the movie added these foreshadowing events on purpose, EXACTLY for that purpose, but it's not always a guarantee that the audience will pick up on it the first time they see the movie, and come to their own conclusions before they're proven right. Most of the time, hindsight is 20/20. Also, the audience wasn't helped into the suspense other than the fact that it became night and past midnight (the witching hour). There were no ominous tones (Peter Brenner obviously wasn't tapped to compose the score), so it was a teensy, little bit harder to be subconsciously alerted that bad juju was about to take place.

I wouldn't say the movie was bad, and as I said before, I don't think I watched the movie under the proper circumstances, but hey, what can you do? I'm in a 3rd world, war-torn country defending freedom (to a degree), and my berthing is made of plywood. I think I'm a little more worried about a mortar attack than demonic activity in a Muslim nation. I'm sure under the right circumstances, I would have been more scared of this movie, similar to my initial feelings of "The Ring". They say that the beauty and masterpiece that makes this movie so scary is the fact that they don't "show the monster", and leave it up to your mind's wildest imagination to scare you, most of which is done once you're back home in the dark, listening to the bumps in the night. However, that's exactly what prevented me from getting to place. My mind just wasn't able to trick itself into fear this time around. And listening for explosions and gunfire is a little more scary and real than wondering what that "bump" in my B-Hut was (it was probably a soldier trying to quietly masturbate in his room).

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