So this weekend we finally got around to watching “Paranormal Activity”, the (in)famous smash hit that was filmed down in San Diego for about $11,000 and went on to make a couple hundred million dollars. My wife wasn’t all that enthusiastic about it, because of the “found footage” nature of the film, which reminded her of “The Blair Witch Project”. We both hated that movie. Maybe we’re jaded from having spent so much time hiking and occasionally getting lost in the woods, but all we both kept thinking during TBWP was, “Just keep walking downstream, you idiots!” Fortunately, that wasn’t an issue with “Paranormal Activity”.
For anyone who is not familiar with it, “Paranormal Activity” concerns a young couple, Katie and Micah (evidently pronounced “mee-kah”), who become concerned when a demonic presence begins to manifest in their new home. The demon, like a poltergeist, turns out to have been following Katie since she was a small girl, causing mischief and generally making itself a nuisance. So naturally, Micah decides to start annoying it.
This was quite a creepy film, with the demon’s antics escalating as Micah continues to taunt it, dare it to show itself, attempt to capture it on film, try to communicate with it, and otherwise do pretty much everything that a psychic, brought in early on to assess the situation, has warned him not to do, up to and including bringing in a Ouija board. Obviously Micah has never seen the classic 80s camp horror classic “Witchboard”. (Side note: many years ago in college, when I was living in a suite with a group of other students, they brought in a Ouija board to try to to talk to “the spirits”. I sat in on the session making snarky comments about it until “the spirits” basically told me to GTFO, at which point I decided to go to the food hall for a late-night snack. I may have been snarky, but I wasn’t stupid. Unlike Micah.)
My wife didn’t fall asleep for “Paranormal Activity”, but this may have been because she was all wound up after a close encounter with a rattlesnake that had taken up residence in the track of the sliding door out back. (Another side note: Thank you for coming and taking care of the rattlesnake, Oceanside Fire Department!) However she did become more and more annoyed with the film, especially with Micah, who seemed bullheadedly determined not only to ignore everyone’s advice but to deliberately do things that Katie pleaded with him not to. After about an hour she was ready to go do something else, so I cheated and told her how it ended. Then she decided to watch the rest of it. I won’t spoil the ending here but I will say that she found it satisfactory. As for me, it just so happens that there’s a tiny dog on my wife’s flyball team whose name is also pronounced “mee-kah”, and I was having real trouble not imagining the dog every time Katie said her boyfriend’s name. This made it slightly difficult to take the goings-on seriously, but I was still thoroughly creeped out by the time it was over. So, that was $11,000 well-spent by the filmmakers, I would say.
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