Are You Itching to See Paranormal Activity?

When I first saw Paranormal Activity’s trailer in a fellow blogger’s site, it instantly captured my attention. The film is dubbed as this decade’s The Blair Witch Project.

Paranormal Activity was actually an old film. It was screened in various film festivals in 2007, Slamdance and Screamfest to name a few. DreamWorks loved it and commissioned Oren Peli, its director, to helm a remake with a bigger budget. So they conducted test screenings to determine areas of improvement. But the test screenings went so well that they ditched the idea of doing a remake.

The film started with midnight-only screenings in selected US theatres. Through an intensive viral campaign, Paranormal Activity was poised to become a sleeper hit. It soon became a trending topic on Twitter. As word of mouth grew, so does the number of theatres screening it.

The pinnacle of its rise to fame occurred during the Halloween weekend when Paranormal Activity trumped Saw VI on the box office. I know the Saw franchise is garbage but this was a feat for Paranormal Activity because of two things: (1) for the last five years, Saw has consistently dominated the Halloween weekend as box-office champion; and (2) Paranormal Activity was made under $11,000, which is not even a fraction of Saw’s promotions budget.
People have been hailing Paranormal Activity as the scariest film of the year, while some think it is an overhyped and boring piece of shit. If you’re itching to see the film, you’ll be glad to know that Manong Dibidi already carries a DVD copy of Paranormal Activity. But be warned, the version we will be getting on the silverscreen is not the same as what is available on pirated DVD. Why is that? The version available in pirated DVD is the 2007 original cut. After DreamWorks picked up the film for distribution, they implemented some changes: they cut scenes, edited sequences, CGI’d the special effects, and remade the ending.

Since I didn’t know this before, I got the original ending, which I thought was lame. Through blog-hopping, I found out what the new ending is and I regret that I haven’t seen that version. But I don’t have any plans of seeing Paranormal Activity on the big screen, simply because I don’t think it’s worth it.

I have terribly mixed feelings for Paranormal Activity. I admire its success story, which I have written above. But the film isn’t really that special. It’s a micro-budgeted film and that becomes noticeable right away. It doesn’t help that the actors were complete amateurs.

We all know it’s a mockumentary and I’m totally cool with that idea. However, I hate the fact that the director is trying too hard to pass the film off as authentic. Hence, the opening credits thanking the police department for the footage (the entire film is a ‘footage’) and the ending credits saying that the film is dedicated to Micah and Katie (the main characters of the film).

But no matter what I say, I know curiosity will take the better of you and you will still line up come December 2 to watch the film on the big screen. I can’t blame you. If it’s any consolation, there’s one scene that made me go OMFG with matching goosebumps, that itself may be worth the admission ticket.

Rating: 2.5/5

Other films I saw recently:

The Hurt Locker (4/5)

Tokyo (2/5)


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