And lo, it was spoken that unto each generation a Blair Witch would be delivered…
Which pretty much sums the entire experience of the film – if you liked The Blair Witch Project (or at least found it interesting) then Paranormal Activity has a lot to offer. It’s an interesting update of the found footage idea which addresses a lot of the previous issues (how come the camera manages to catch all of the interesting stuff) and also the presence of the camera. It even has the same ending as Blair Witch, although done in a far less subtle / disturbing fashion. There are a few nice jumps in it, but both K and I found the audience reaction far more interesting.
For all the talk of an internet savvy generation one thing seems to have been missed. Based on the audience that saw it last night its purported “Found footage of real events” has been taken at face value by much of the audience of this generation, simply because the (very clever) internet campaign has stated such. This brought up a discussion of The Blair Witch Project and the fact that in the ten years since its release the carefully constructed campaign that it had (which pretty much amounted to the same thing) has been forgotten, much like the same campaign for Cannibal Holocaust.
It’s on the internet – it must be true. Despite the fact that if this was the case given that in twenty-one days they produced more evidence of the supernatural than all other film since the dawn of photography it was taken at pure face value by the bulk of the audience. Interestingly the only people who appeared to be not traumatised by it were those who remembered similar previous events (especially Ghostwatch, will pulled the same trick on live TV).
Is it worth watching – yes, but don’t bother going to the cinema unless you want to see the social experiment side of the film.
Last comment – another interesting aspect is the complete lack of credits (before or after) the film to further the sense of being real. Now it’s my understanding that credits are required from a legal standpoint so I’m still trying to figure out how they got around this issue, perhaps cards listing the credits were available at the cinema? The other option is that this was completely non-union and thus not subject to normal guidelines.