When I saw the previews for Paranormal Activity, I couldn’t wait to see it. I love the subject matter of ghosts, demons, anything beyond the realm of what we can concretely understand and explain.
Then, like most movies I decide I want to see, I placed it on a back burner and forgot all about it until Gary and I wandered into Blockbuster this past weekend. We rented Paranormal Activity and settled in to be completely, hopelessly scared out of our minds.
Reviews of this movie promised it was one of the scariest movies ever, that you would never sleep again after watching it. Far-fetched and exaggerated, to be sure, but it at least seemed to promise to guarantee a chill here and there.
Well…try a yawn or two. Or maybe three. The first 45 minutes or so is filled with irritating banter between a man much too romantically involved with his new camera, and his tank-top loving girlfriend who giggles after every statement and has the dazzling personality of a turnip.
I caught Gary sneaking peeks at a paperback book instead of watching the movie. I was forced to inform him that he had to suffer through the boring movie along with me, or else it didn’t count as doing something together.
The movie finally picks up when our friendly neighborhood demon makes an appearance by nudging the bedroom door a few inches while Mr. Annoying and The Annoying Girlfriend are fast asleep under a single sheet, since for some reason they dump the bed’s cover on the floor every night. Apparently they have no cats in the house who would curl up on it and make it an instant cat-fur-covered pet bed.
Being a tad camera-shy, the demon develops angst at being videotaped every night, and its nightly activities begin to include ruffling the sheets, making noise downstairs, and leaving footprints in the powder our dynamic duo sprinkle on the floor to see, well, if the demon can or will make footprints.
One night, the demon childishly flips light switches on and leaves the lights on, and we are apparently supposed to be terrified witless at its complete disregard for energy conservation. I couldn’t help thinking that clearly these people did not have a utility company like ours, or the lights being left on would have elicited a stern lecture and cries of “Are we lighting the whole neighborhood?” instead of eye-rolling horror and clutching at each other.
I am no expert at being harassed/stalked by demons…wait, even as I type that, I realize the humorous irony of it! Okay, an obsessed and imbalanced BM is pretty darn close to an unwanted demonic presence, so I will consider myself a tad knowledgable at this subject matter after all. (Although I must point out that at least with a demon, there is the dim but faintly present hope of an exorcism or other extraction remedy that is not even a passing option with an obsessed and imbalanced BM.)
Much like the presence of an off-the-rocker BM, the unwanted attention of the demon progressively made our movie’s heroine, The Annoying Girlfriend, go just a little bit batty. She became more psychotic, moody, bitchy, and irritating than ever, concluding with greasy hair dangling in her zombie-like, zoned-out face, helpless crumplings onto the hallway floor, sleep-standing beside the bed for hours (this couldn’t possibly be good for her back, but I digress), outbursts punctuated by stabbing a pen in the air as the F-word drops like never before, and spontaneous arguments with Mr. Annoying that became redundant and probably bored the demon to sleep, causing it to be awake at all hours of the night to cause mayhem and mischief.
One or two scenes did creep me out a bit, but that is largely due to my imagination and my belief in ghosts and a world we can’t understand more so than any creative energy of this movie. Gary and I stayed up late talking about ghosts and every realm of paranormal activity, possible explanations, what we believe and what we don’t. That was far more entertaining than the movie itself.
Maybe if the characters were more likeable, this would have been a better movie. Maybe if I didn’t spend the entire movie hoping the demon would smash Mr. Annoying and The Annoying Girlfriend into an idiot sandwich, splash them with ketchup and mustard, and wash them down with a beer, it would have been a more satisfying cinematic experience.