Movie Defense Force: Paranormal Activity

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Honestly, I loved all 4 of them. The story is interesting and the horror is good stuff. The first one had the biggest impact being a new experience. The 2nd seemed like it brought things to new levels and was pretty strong as well. The 3rd I liked the most as a movie though, the final scenes are amazing and the conclusion so dark that I had to applaud it.

However the series is starting to drag on a bit. The 4th movie was good but didn't do anything new, interesting or powerful. I'm not sure if there's anything else left they can do with the remaining cast and characters but they would really have to try a lot harder to impress me in a 5th movie.

Why people want to hate on it? I'm not sure why. People like to jump on the bandwagon for a lot of things and often don't have much to argue for their cause. I chalk it up to that. The series was successful more than any other recent horror movies and I think there's a reason for it. People may talk shit but they still go see the movie. I did have some problems while watching the 4th movie in the theater though. Some people apparently weren't impressed with it's low budget effects and so they yelled out obscenities during various parts of the film.

This is why i always prefer to watch these movies at home, by myself, in the dark, with headphones on. I did that for the 1st movie and nearly shat myself. (and i don't scare easily)

Personally, I always thought the first one's great, and I liked each consecutive sequel less and less. I was still scared by them, but I found their growing lack of subtlety and the new information coming forward and filling in the holes made me look back on them and think "it wasn't as good as the last one."
That's just me, I don't *hate* the sequels, but after 3, I don't have very positive things to say about them.

I'm just gonna chime in with everybody else, I remember the first Paranormal Activity was actually really well recieved by fans.

Hopping on the bandwagon here, the first movie in particular does not need defending. It only draws flak from people who absolutely hate found footage movies.
Now the third... they ought to have stopped after #2.

And thank you for not including any stupid jump scares in this defense video.

I thought the first one was alright can't say anything about the others as I've not seen them I'll try catching them sometime.

My problem with Paranormal Activity (cause I've only seen the first and said no to the rest) is that there's nothing there...
It's a whole mess of waiting... for nothing really.
There's no real plot there other than "oooo ghosties and ppl scary!"... I've been told, when I said as such to my sister, of the grand plot developed over the course of the franchise... but... that doesn't mean any of that was in the first one.
And I say this because in my opinion, PA is a crap Blair Witch.
The thing that really drew you into the BWP is all of that world building. The fake interviews used as movie trailers. Everything about the whole first "act" is nothing but laying the foundation for the rest of the movie.
Unlike PA.
I think I watched a bit of 3 when said conversation came up with said sister... and there was a 15min scene that served no purpose other than "the girlfriend is angry at the boyfriend's stupid"... which was already presented just fine in the not worthless scene before... and is rehashed AGAIN in scene after.
I don't think the audience needs to waste that extra 15min of her raging to know that she's pissed... At least I do hope they got that from her screaming at her bf in the previous scene.
And I don't think it's just jump-scares... I'm fairly certain most "HQ" scary movies rely on those too...
But it's just not scary for me... I was bored out of my mind in the first one and never wasted my money being bored by the others.

I've not seen the first all the way through, but I saw 2 and 3 at the cinema and they scared the shit out of me. Something about how trapped you are in a giant room with a giant screen, where every tiny sound the camera picks up comes across as a book through cinema speakers. Absolutely chilling.

4 was fucking awful though. I'll find even the mildest of horrors scary, but everything in 4 was phoned in and they seemed to forget the craft that went into making the first three so scary.

Unfortunately, it isn't scary for shit and I can't understand what would be scary about it. The only possible scare in the whole movie is the drag out of bed shit.

I like the first PA quite a bit. It's well paced and does a good job of lulling you into a nice sense of rhythm (plot during the day, spooky stuff at night) and then turning that on it's head towards the end for a good climax (spooky stuff any time.)

While I think the movie would be a billion times better if trimmed 3 seconds off the end, I still enjoy it a lot.

Where I have problems is with PA as a franchise. Found footage movies are great but they rely on a certain type of world building to really succeed. Blair Witch sells itself as an attempt to make a student film documentary, Cloverfield pulls double duty by presenting itself as footage of some guy documenting a monster attack on New York and later recovered by the military and leaked to the public.

Where the PA series fails at this is by insisting on attempting a cohesive metaplot. After 4 movies where the writers have had to contrive reasons why this footage exists it starts to strain my already thinly suspended disbelief. Is this family just deeply voyeuristic? Does the demon just really like being on camera? Where does this footage come from? Who found it? Who edited it together?

I can't help but think that if they wanted to make a series out of PA it would have been better served as an anthology with each film presenting itself as new documented evidence of various and sundry hauntings, cults and demon possessions. It would have been harder to weave together a metaplot tying all of the films together without having to be so blunt and clumsy but it would have kept the concept in tact.

Sorry Jim, you're missing the mark here. Jump scares are by definition cheap. They are called jump scares BECAUSE its usually just some crap jumping out at you. No atmosphere or build-up.

Also. Ghosts are dumb. If you want real horror, you need a human antagonist.

here's my problem with jump scares: there's nothing to be afraid of. it's like getting a medical shot. once you get over the initial uncomfortableness of someone forcing a hard, metal needle through your skin, you think, "ah. that wasn't so bad, actually." in the same fashion, once the initial jump scare is over, it's like, "well now that that's out of the way. . ." jump scares don't make me check my closet or night or close my window blinds without looking out the window in case there is a bogey man. jump scares can't make a long, dark, seemingly empty hallway scary. jump scares are an obstacle, not fear. it's an involuntary reaction that will work to some degree even if it hasn't been set up correctly on anyone who doesn't know the exact moment it's set to occur. it's not even a cheap thrill, it's just annoying, and it only ever works the one time.

I never liked the first one, but I never saw it as bad. It was just very ineffective towards me - the buildup was done well, but none of the scares, well, scared me. I don't mind jump scares, as long as they're done well, and I'll say that at least PA1 attempted to do them correctly instead of going OOGA BOOGA BOOGA every four minutes like most "horror" films do nowadays.[1] I heard this was a good year for them though I think part of the problem with Paranormal Activity was that many of the scares were quite hammy and silly. The director seemed to know what he/she was doing, for the most part, but seemed to mistake these creepy moments for scares, and thus, there never ended up being a scare for me. It ended up being extremely boring, and I found more entertainment laughing at all the people in the audience who were scared when the ouija board caught on fire and such than the actual film. Creepy by itself is not scary, just not gore by itself is not scary. I never gave PA2 a chance because I figure that its probably pandering moreso to the casual horror-viewer who pees their pants when they the most obvious jumpscare ever happens than people who actually have a resistance towards crappy jump scares and who don't think creepy = scary.

[1] I don't even watch horror films anymore because since 2006 over 90% of the ones I've watched have been somewhere between complete shite and mediocre on a scale of quality. Sorry films I'm disregarding without much of a fair chance, but "better than those shitty horror films" is not "good", and that seems to be how most fans defend the newest horror films.

tiredinnuendo:
I think you may be defending against the wrong arguments here.

My complaint about PA as a franchise is that it's boring. It's not that the scares are "cheap" or what have you. It's just dull. The core of the issue seems to be that they're shooting it like an episode of Ghost Hunters which (while that show has never ever been scary either) mainly pulls its horror from the idea that this is really happening, but that doesn't work in PA because we know that this is a movie. Waiting through 20 minutes of pointless conversations between boring characters and watching them go to a barbecue and all that other stuff, just to wait through two full minutes of them sleeping in a dark room, all for the big payoff to be that THE DOOR SLIGHTLY OPENED BY ITSELF isn't even a jump scare. It isn't even really startling. It's just dull.

Can you imagine the theme park ride for paranormal activity? Where you like ride in a little car through a rich person's house and admire their cabinets and stuff and then kinda near the end there's like a knocking sound?

TERROR.

- J

There was this fairy tale about a king who walked around naked but everyone said he wore the most excellent clothes because they were sheep or something like that.
I feel it's the same case with this movie. Everyone's praising it for one reason or another but when you take away all the hype and clever marketing, there's really nothing there.

I liked the first movie, honestly. The leads were believable to a certain extent (Micah stretched the "I can't believe this shit!" angle a little too far) and I always thought that horror movies are better served by a plot that doesn't explain everything away.

I remember walking away from the theater and thinking that Katie was dead. That was that, she didn't survive her conflict against some sort of familial entity, and I didn't mind. I don't need my horror movies to have stellar endings.

Then someone went and assumed the movie was sequel material. At least it didn't happen as a sort of drop-kick into complete mediocrity like in Blair Witch 2's case, but rather as a steady descent into clinically observable brain death. The third movie could've been two hours of the typical flatline's tone that I would've had the same general lack of thrills or interest.

I loved the first paranormal activity, and didn't mind the others. Okay I thought 2nd was pointless but at least the prequel shed some light on the mythos and everything. The only criticism I have for these movies is that I find them a bit misandry (anti men) mostly the male characters die and they are all very stupid.

Other then that I thought these movies did a very good job.

I actually enjoyed it. It wasn't amazing, but it did creep me out in several places. Particularly when the damn thing was possessing her. I still don't know why they didn't just get out of the fucking house when they had a chance, though.

Alar:
I actually enjoyed it. It wasn't amazing, but it did creep me out in several places. Particularly when the damn thing was possessing her. I still don't know why they didn't just get out of the fucking house when they had a chance, though.

Eh, they explained that they knew it was haunting her, not the house, so it would just follow. I had to chuckle at that though. It just seemed like one of those things that everybody reading the script pre-production asked until the writer finally just said enough, and put in this quick explanation to shut everyone up.

For me, I just barely watched all four of these the last two weeks through getting the DVD's from Netflix. Hadn't seen them before. I was surprised how little I was affected by the first one. It didn't scare me all that much at all. Personally, I thought the second one was much scarier. Throw a toddler into the mix and things just get creepier.

3rd and 4th ones however...bleh. As mentioned above, tried to explain too much and the demon itself seemed to be inconsistent with itself from the first and second one....if a never seen demon can really be inconsistent. :P

Finally, the most annoying thing from the movies (especially the first one), why did the stupid demon need to turn on the light to walk down the hall? The thing fed on fear, so slamming doors and crashing furniture were good for that, but flicking on the light when walking down the hall when everybody is sleeping? What kind of creature of the night is this?!

I'll repeat what Yahtzee said: "Jumpscares startles, but they don't scare me. I was startlet when a possum jump in through my window, but that doesn't make it an equivalent of Stanley Kubrick". Jump scares aren't scary, and neither are bad effects. Jim seems to have mixed up realism and genuinity (shut up, it's now a word) with "uglyness". Something isn't scary just because it's poorly done. Something is scary because it has a feeling of realism and the scary thing being beuine, rather than being something from a movie.

For example, the effects from the Carpenter movie, "the thing", are very well done, and most people consider the effects to be really quite creepy, however, they consider the puppets used in "Troll 2" to be laughable. A lot of people were scared by the movie "The conjuring", which has very good make-up and CG used on the actors to make them look scary, while people just laugh at extremely poorly animated movies like "Mega Piranha". It has nothing whatsoever to do with how poorly made it is, it has all to do with how genuine it feels, and jump scares, by the way, are bullshit.

The first Paranormal Activity is actually quite well made (well, considering the bar for horror movies is extremely low) but from this series I get the feeling Jim doesn't know much about movies and have very weird standards set for them. Then again, I do often get the feeling he often just says what'll make him popular on the internet, so there's that.

Wow, Jim, i didnt knew the most profitable movie of all time needed defending.....

Though im glad you like found footage films. Turns out im not alone in this!

tangoprime:

Jimothy Sterling:
Paranormal Activity

Defending the Twilight of horror movies.

Watch Video

The hidden footage / low budget handheld ones are my kind of bag too :)
What did you think of Quarantine? That would could probably use a Movie Defense Force mobilization.

Quarantine was completely ruined for me by watching the trailers. Some producers decided to put the ending in the trailer, along with too many of the scary scenes. Each time any tension would start to build I'd recognized something from the trailer and it would deflate the scene for me. Might have to give it a second chance some day.

AdagioBoognish:

tangoprime:

Jimothy Sterling:
Paranormal Activity

Defending the Twilight of horror movies.

Watch Video

The hidden footage / low budget handheld ones are my kind of bag too :)
What did you think of Quarantine? That would could probably use a Movie Defense Force mobilization.

Quarantine was completely ruined for me by watching the trailers. Some producers decided to put the ending in the trailer, along with too many of the scary scenes. Each time any tension would start to build I'd recognized something from the trailer and it would deflate the scene for me. Might have to give it a second chance some day.

I hate when that happens! I had never watched trailers for it, only saw ads on website banners and whatnot that showed a very scared looking Debra from Dexter, lol. Ended up watching it ~1:00AM at a friend's house when we were browsing their DVDs looking for something to do.

The problem with the PA movies isn't the first one, they made it for 15 bucks or what ever and it got picked up by a studio. I can forgive the first PA for it's lack of creativity and being forgettable.

It's all the PA's after it that are the problem, they're purposely formulaic manipulative and uncreative just so the profit to budget ratio is ridiculously off kilter. There is nothing in those movies that is done because some one gives a crap about what they are doing.

They're movies that pander to the numb brains.

I think we've reached the point in this series where Jim has run out of actual bad movies to convince us we need to lower our critical standards and shut up and enjoy because demanding quality is for snobs, and is just straight up taking an excuse to invent strawmen to argue with so he can talk about movies everyone actually does agree are good.

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