Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paranormal Activity

My wife and I found an hour and 30 minutes to spend alone together last night.  When the kids fell asleep, we snuck downstairs into the basement to be alone.  Not even the dog was allowed to follow.  This is a pretty rare event, no kids, no dog, my wife awake after 9 PM.  Why did all this happen?  The reason is Paranormal Activity came in the mail from Netflix for this weekend. 
My wife and I can rarely agree on a movie watch together.  She’s not into sci-fi or fantasy, I’m not into romantic dramas, she loved Titantic, I abhorred Titanic each of the 5 times I was forced to fracking see it in the theater.  But there is one genre that we always agree on, the dark, psychological thiller/horror flicks.  I already told you our first date was to see The Silence of the Lambs.  Some of our favorite movies are The Exorcist, The Shining, Se7en, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose.  So when Paranormal Activity made it to DVD, we knew there was a late night date night ahead. 
Neither of us were disappointed.  I heard all of the hype about the movie, I know it cost around $15,000 to make, but I really didn’t expect to be as amazed at how good the movie was.  If nothing else, this movie spurs your brain into motion.  It may not even be conscious thought, and I bet you some of those thoughts you don’t want to think of at all.  The wonder of this movie is that there are no special effects.  There is only one camera, one location, no more than 3 actors on screen at any time and I swear to you at times I didn’t know if what I was seeing and hearing was in the movie or if it was part of my imagination. 
The purpose of most movies is to “show” a story.  The huge Hollywood blockbusters of Michael Bay and the like, leave almost nothing at all to the imagination.  Everything is played out for you in mind-blowing special effects, in 3D.  The characters and narrators fill in for everything that you can’t “see.”  I am not complaining, but trying to show how wonderfully simple and amazingly complex Paranormal Activity is.  There are only a handful of visual and audio effects that you see and hear in the movie.  Your mind continuously supplies the myriad of other noises and shadows and bumps in the night.
My wife said the next morning that Paranormal Activity is the wrong movie to watch before you go to bed.  I completely disagree.  This is the type of movie you watch on a windy night around midnight in a large room with the lights out, so the edges of the room get lost in the shadows.  Oh yeah, watch it alone, with no one else in the house, or maybe you’re not alone, wait, what was that, was that from the TV, is that the wind? 
That’s the result of this movie, to make you question those noises in the middle of the night.  To make you doubt your senses and your memory.  To make you flip on every light on the way from the kitchen to the bedroom.  To deprive you of a little more sleep once you get there.
It worked. 

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