Sunday, October 24, 2010

Paranormal Activity

So, those of you who know me may know that I am a movie buff. My older brother graduated from Fordham in 2008 and since then the two of us have gone to the movies about once a week as a way to keep up with each other and keep our eyes on what is going on with our favorite visual medium.

Last year we went together to see a low budget movie that had become somewhat of a cult phenomenon, Paranormal Activity. This film was made in 2006 for a reported $11,000 and was wide released in 2009 earning $194 million, making it one of the most profitable films ever made.

The movie is presented as "found footage" that is, the movie asserts itself to be actual home footage of two people who experience a great deal of paranormal activity in their house as a result of a demonic possession. Most of the movie is night-vision home-camera style footage of a couple sleeping in their bed while paranormal activities occur around them, reaching climax in a demonic possession.

Both my brother and myself left the theater last year singing the praises of this low-budget horror movie which proved itself to be more intelligent and terrifying then most of its big budget competition.

When I saw a trailer for a sequel the other week on the TV, I knew this was an event we could not miss.

This movie does not disappoint, the suspense and fear of the first movie remain and the sequel has one of the most ingenious plots I have ever seen to both include and inform the action of the first movie.

This is a movie that could not exist at any other time in history. It relies not only on the technological ability of handheld cameras which can record large amounts of footage in high definition, but also on a culture which is not only accepting but desirous of filming its every actions for future viewing.

The movie plays on the Myspace and Facebook generation's obsession with recording and presenting itself in a digital medium for a potentially limitless audience through the internet. This movie would have failed in the 1980s, a period in which home movies were easily produced but difficult to present to mass audiences. The rise in digital media as well as social networking and sites like youtube both inform and provide the context for a movie in which families record their daily lives while extraordinary (or paranormal) events occur.

If you have not seen Paranormal Activity, see it first. If you have seen it, go now to the nearest theater showing Paranormal Activity 2, you will not regret it.

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