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 Thoughts on Paranormal Activity 1 and 2.

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PostSubject: Thoughts on Paranormal Activity 1 and 2.   Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:23 am

Paranormal Activity 1 is an effective, creepy movie with a good buildup and moments that leave you with your mouth wide open thinking "did that just happen??" It's unnerving, and good at it.

It's worth seeing for just how unconventional and effective at creepingly subtle this movie is. But is is scary or as terrifying as the hype would have you believe?

Pfft. No. It actually isn't.

It has great mood and atmosphere in spades and it's good at that. You may like that about it and I do respect the movie for being very fresh and imaginative. It's convincing and mostly realistic in it's approach. But it's not terrifying or anything, and it fell short on giving me the "oh my god that was terrifying, now i'm afraid to sleep" reaction I hoped it would. I'll be sleeping just fine.

Also this movie has different endings depending on the version you see, and trust me... these endings make a WORLD of difference.

As far as the two endings go, well, the ending referred to as the "alternate" ending is the preferred ending, while the "theatrical" ending is typical stupid fucking cheesy hollywood shitty ending.

If you watch this on Blu-Ray or DVD, before it starts up, you'lll be asked to play "Alternate" cut or "Theatrical" cut. The difference is how the last 40 seconds play out.

Without spoiling what HAPPENS in the two main endings of Paranormal Activity, here's the difference between them that you'll need to know.

"Alternate" ending is a creepy, effective ending to a creepy effective movie. Simple and to the point. "Theatrical" ending is a lame, cheesy, Hollywoodish crappy effects shot that treats you as if you're too stupid to "get it", and insults your intelligence.

Then, we get into Paranormal Activity 2...

And man, it's hard to sum this up as a follow up, exept to say I have REEALLY mixed feelings about Paranormal Activity 2.

This film is creepier, way scarier, and ups the ante of the first film many times over. It's much more effective and a technically better made movie.

Right away, you'll notice this is a prequel that attempts to tie the first movie loosely into events that set up what happened and why in PA1. That... part of the film, I think detracts very much from it's premise.

PA is etching closer to having a continuity and an overarching story and I think that even though parts of this film are way better, way scarier and way more effective than the first one, this lame-ass attempt at a shitty story isn't working out.

I would have much rather Paranormal Activity 2 be about a completely different set of characters that have nothing to do with the couple in the first film, and just be a ghost/demon possession story that is tangical to part 1.

Still, aside from the crappy ending of PA2 (which is where the movie truly fails as the ending to this is even more insulting and lame than the theatrical cut of the first film) I will admit PA2 really sets it's tension better.

But not only does this movie treat the stupid shitty ending of the first film as canon, but the ending to THIS film is even WORSE, even stupider, even more insulting, and even more of a lame piece of shit.

I was really gripped by PA2 until the ending, then I just wanted to punch the screen for again treating me as the audience as if I'm so stupid that I needed the ending once again, to beat me over the head with the obvious.

All in all, however.... I seriously think the franchise needs to end here.

These are ok movies with severe flaws in the storytelling department, which are effective at creepy moments and good jump scares strung together with very nice moments of tension but that's it. If that's what you like, then these films are dripping with tension and masterful at subtle brilliant timing.

Pretend that the plot isn't there though, and the movies are much better.

PA2 even though the meat of the film is nicer, it's obviously more of a slapdash effort at trying to give this shlocky story some crappy continuity, too, and it's just making things worse.

These two are a fair couple of movies because of it's awesome use of real time intensity but it's getting stale now and unfortunately, a third one has already been greenlit.

I won't be seeing it. It's pure downhill from here.

The formula is played out, already. Two films have stretched this as far as it can go.
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Paranormal Activity 1 and 2.   Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:58 am

Not really my type of movie, TBH, but I'm not surprised that there is something of the law of diminishing returns when it comes to the sequel, or that the studio opted for the Hollywood ending rather than the original darker one. Seems to be a pretty common theme, that one.

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on Paranormal Activity 1 and 2.   Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:22 am

Yeah, there's also other films that have these sorts of problems.

The problem is, is that when something new and interesting comes along to shake up the horror genre with a new idea, they instantly whore it out, and try to repackage and sequel the hell out of it, while Hollywood tries to dumb it down around the edges to it's lowest common denominator.

Much like Scream, Saw and other movies that become franchises, they start out with a good film idea, even if it's not the greatest film to begin with but merely a good idea... and then quickly delude it, bottle it and manafacture it.

PA1 had that with it's "stupid" theatrical ending, and it tried to be a better movie in some places for PA2.

Without giving anything away, the first movie was simple. A couple leaves a camera on every night while they sleep, attempting to make sense out of the bizarre circumstances going on every night, and we begin to discover, in more or less real time along with them, what it is, how it's way more than they expected, and our fear grows with their fear as we witness what they witness documentary footage style, leading to something terrible in the end.

The second film right away, ups the ante. Some people are connected to the first couple, when one of them spreads the phenomon into their house.. except this family has multiple security cameras of 6 views we go through, a dog, a family of 4 and a baby. Somehow this makes it much scarier, when shots linger on all 6 views of the house for 12 minutes, filling you with dread when something is going to happen and what.

It's much scarier all the way through, but unfortunately the ending just becomes trite and insulting, and trying to tell a story that suddenly devolves into trying WAY too hard to tie it to the silly ending of the first movie.

A third movie needs to not happen, as I think everyone gets it already, and I just think that they are going to go for their silly story now and ignore the substance from here on.
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