Thursday, 29 September 2011

You are not in control

Paranormal Activity
14 October 2007

Directed by: 
Oren Peli

Produced by:
Steven Schneider
Jason Blum

Written by: 
Oren Peli

Katie Featherston
Micah Sloat

Summary: Katie and Micah have been living together for three years, but recently they do not feel that they are alone in their house. Strange things start to occur – especially at night. To attempt to find out what is happening, Micah starts to film them all day, every day, in hope of discovering what it is. However, while he sees it as a fun project, Katie (who we discover has been ‘haunted’ since she was eight years old) knows that the situation is dangerous. They call a ghost specialist to help them with the inexplicable presence they feel, however he tells them that their problem is far beyond his expertise. Katie becomes more and more disturbed by the ‘hauntings’ – which are followed by Micah’s video camera.

My Favourite Scene: One scene I found particularly unnerving was the one in which Katie wakes up and gets out of her bed. She then stands by the bed and watches Micah sleeping. Katie appears to be possessed as she hardly moves, with the camera showing hours and hours passing by.  In the morning she has no recollection of waking up during the night at all.

I found this rather freaky as it conveys the idea of someone not being in control of themselves and the fact that Katie couldn’t remember anything makes it even more frightening. In the film, I believe it highlights that the ‘presence’ terrifying them had all the power, and that Katie and Micah were completely defenceless. I think it is interesting to have a ‘scary film’ in which the most chilling scenes are not all blood and guts, but are simpler - and arguably more realistic because of it.

My Favourite Quotes: 
Physic: If you do try to play games with it, that’s inviting it in.

Micah : No I promise you I wasn’t going to buy a Ouija board. I didn’t buy a Ouija board. I borrowed a Ouija board. 

Katie: I feel it. I feel it breathing on me.

My Thoughts: It is really refreshing to see a scary film, which stays clear of the blood and guts. Of course, what is really terrifying about Paranormal Activity is the element of realism (if you actually believe that you could be ‘haunted’ by some sort of spirit). The idea of being trapped in this never-ending nightmare is so much more powerful than someone running around with a knife, killing people.

Filming a scary film with the effect of a hand-held camera is such genius, you wonder why more films have not used the idea! It really gives the audience a sense of living the experience with Katie and Micah. Especially the scene in their bedroom where Katie is dragged from her bed and Micah is desperately trying to help her. The fact that the camera stays where it is and only the screams can be heard is really quite chilling and it lets the most terrifying thing happen - one imagining what is happening to her.

Something I found particularly interesting about the film was the fact that it was filmed only in one location – their home. This really elucidated the feel of being in the house with them, scared and confused as they were. The one location was also significant in giving the sense of being trapped. I was really impressed by Sloat’s and Featherston’s performances. They were not over the top and ridiculous like in many scary films, but instead portrayed real characters – especially Katie.  As the film progressed there was a sense that she was just becoming more and more weak, giving up as she realised she could not fight this ‘spirit’. It was also interesting to try and perceive when Katie was just Katie, and when she did not seem like her but instead, possessed in some way.

Having finally seen one of the most talked about films of 2009, and I have to say I was slightly disappointed. The film had been built up so much - I thought I was going to be terrified! I found it quite scary, but I think the Blair Witch Project idea is nothing new – and I definitely found that film more frightening. However it will definitely freak you out and if you wake up in the middle of the night, it is best not to imagine being invisibly pulled out of your bed screaming, by a spirit – try counting sheep instead.

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