Film Review: Paranormal Activity (2009)

By James Madden. Viewed on 29/12/2009

Perhaps I could write an interesting and informative piece about the film that I just saw. And maybe part of this review will do so. After all, there is something to talk about in this dribbly piece of hogwash, however, I think it’s more interesting to talk about the circumstances under which I viewed the film.

So let’s set the scene. Tuesday night. Cheap Tuesday of course. The movie has been out for almost a month, so it’s not at the hugely populated Avatar level. However, being a suburban multiplex in the holidays on the cheapest night for cinema tickets, there were enough people populating the cinema to give it the appropriate atmospheric tension.

The atmosphere that I speak of consisted of what I almost lovingly refer to as bogans, a wannabe hippy couple and very scared tweens (and one very scared 20 year old who groped me throughout the progression of the film. Luckily I she drove me, so the gropage was acceptable.) Throughout the film, there were the proverbial squeals, awkward and nervous laughs that follow the squeals and the judgmental “I’m not buying this” comments. While these actions from the surrounding patrons were quite the distraction from the actual film itself, they also proved to be an interesting factor when looking at what can help make or break a movie: the audience.

Possess Me!

So while the actual film, which was trying its damned hardest to be a carbon copy replica of the 1999 small budget hit The Blair Witch Project, was not the best piece of cinema I’d ever see, it nonetheless managed to be on par with what I expected from this kind of film, and maybe a little more. I recently ran into one disturbing DVD at my local JB (of which I work at. Boo yeah!) It was a recent film release called Crush starring Chris Egan (from those old Home and Away days back in the early naughties. And yes, it’s sad that I remember) which was the usual kind of teen thriller that ultimately amounts to nothing. However, the DVD back cover featured a review that noted the film as being “a notch above the films in the genre”.  And this lovely review is how I see Paranormal Activity.

It’s not a great film in not such a great genre. However, it is a piece of popcorn fun that can make you feel like you’re 16 again, where you may not have cared about special effects, narrative structure, or even a good ending. Mind you, when I was 16, I did expect, crave and need these things. So perhaps the film allows you to step into another world. That of the uncaring and unbiased tween expectations. And if, in this new tween age group, my choice is between this Twilight or Paranormal Activity, then the latter will always reign supreme.

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