5. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Paranormal Activity posterParanormal Activity finally hit theaters in limited release last month, and this weekend expanded to Philadelphia, which meant that I got to see it. Horror movie fans have been anticipating this one for a couple of years now, after it completely blew people away at a few festivals. Originally a big-budget remake was planned, but thankfully that idea was scrapped. Reviews were almost universally favorable – IMDB has its current rating as an 8.7/10, and Rotten Tomatoes has it at 93% freshness. There are hundreds and hundreds of reviews out there if you’re interested, and as it’s still in theaters I’d prefer not to give you blow-by-blow spoilers, because you really should trek to a city near you to see it if you can.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed it. Katie Featherson gave an absolutely incredible performance, and Katie and Micah together were a fully believable couple. I don’t think I’ve ever been as invested in characters in a film, although some of that may be due to the fact that I can relate to their situation in some ways (more on that later, don’t worry).

One thing I didn’t like, however, was the ending. I had read before seeing the film that the ending currently being shown in theaters is not the original one, but I had intentionally avoided reading spoilers (believe me, it was difficult). Naturally, I was already expecting to be a little disappointed by the ending because I had heard that it was a big, Hollywood-style ending that had been ended in order to have it finish with a bang. This has ruined films before (see Exorcist III, a really wonderful film with a terrible ending).

Well, having seen it, I can tell you that the concept itself isn’t poor, but rather the execution. Serious spoilers ahead, the kind you don’t want to read unless you like knowing about the endings of films before you see them.

1. In the version I saw, we see Katie and Micah asleep in their bedroom, where much of the supernatural action takes place. Katie suddenly and stiffly rises from the bed in classic “I am possessed by a demon” fashion, and stares at Micah while he is asleep. Then, she walks over to his side of the bed and stands looking at him for hours, rocking back and forth, which we see in time-lapse form. It looks great up to this point. Finally she is done doing that, and she walks downstairs out of sight of the camera, where a moment later she starts screaming for Micah, who leaps out of bed and runs down the stairs to her rescue. They continue screaming together for a moment, and then all goes completely silent. After a little while, we hear heavy thumping coming up the stairs, and then BAM MICAH IS THROWN AGAINST THE CAMERA AND WE SEE KATIE IN THE DOORWAY AND SHE HAS BLOOD ALL OVER HER.

I needed to write that in all caps because I think that is the way we are supposed to feel.

She then walks towards the camera, bends down and starts sniffing Micah/maybe eating him or something, and then she looks straight into the camera and does a creepy smile and then a ROAR into the camera with her face contorting and the camera goes black at the roar.

I wasn’t wild about Micah being thrown against the camera, although I supposed you could make the argument that the demon was performing for the camera/retaliating at Micah for the filming. I loved the shot of Katie covered in blood in the hallway, and liked her interaction with Micah’s dead body.

Her lunge at the camera is just an incredibly underwhelming way to end the film. We are told that the film was found along with Micah’s body, and that Katie hasn’t been seen since. I am assuming that since there is extant film that demon Katie did not destroy the camera/swallow it whole with her contorted demon mouth of evil, so why does it make sense to cut to black in the middle of her roar? It would have been a lot more powerful to see what happened immediately after, hopefully including her departure from the room.

Now that I’ve read about the other two endings though, I liked them much more, although neither are totally perfect.

One ending has Katie coming up the stairs covered in blood and either sitting by the bed rocking or standing on top of the bed (unclear) for several days, while we hear phone calls and messages from worried friends in the background. Katie’s friend apparently comes over and we hear her scream downstairs off screen, then Katie comes back upstairs and sits and rocks for a few more days until police arrive. She lunges at them with a knife, and they shoot her. This still seems to be from that ending:

Alternate ending, perhaps?

Alternate ending, perhaps?

I like this ending a lot, although it is by no means the “perfect” ending.  Some have complained about this ending providing too much closure, and I would have to agree, although I love the idea of her remaining in a catatonic state for a long period of time. Personally, I would prefer just to see her suddenly get up and walk out the door, or a similarly open-ended finish.

The third ending is perhaps the best: we hear the shouting downtairs, and the heavy thud of footsteps coming up to the bedroom. Katie is covered in blood, and holding a large butcher knife. She walks towards the camera (although there is no eye contact), and slashes her throat.

Hopefully on the dvd we’ll get the alternate endings. Rumor has it that Steven Spielberg was behind the current ending, although I don’t know if there is any truth to that. Wouldn’t be surprising in the least though, as he is an ending ruiner.

Paranormal Activity post part 2 later on (where you get to hear about my ghost), as Libby wants to watch Phantasm right now. Also watched Peeping Tom with my mom today and Home Movie alone. Posts to follow.

Rating time!

How much fun it was to watch in a theater at midnight: 9/10

How much I think it will hold up when I watch it on tv at home in a few months: 7/10

Scare factor: 9/10

Shitty ending: 5/10

Anne rating: 7.5/10

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~ by Anne Harding on October 3, 2009.

24 Responses to “5. Paranormal Activity (2007)”

  1. THIS MOVIE IS BULLSHIT !

  2. The catatonic state idea is really good for the ending… but to add to that, it would have been more twisted if she would have waited until day light to crawl into the attic, make a long horrifying scream fast forward to a couple days and then maybe show some blood dripping from the ceiling.

  3. I haven’t watched this movie yet, but I really want to. I hear it’s really scary and it makes you pee your pants haha lol. I can’t wait to see it, although I’m not really into scary movies I really want to see this one.

  4. this movie was so scary it had my eyes watering fear. i still cannot believe this wasnt a true story!!! it seemed so real and the “acting” was amazingly believable

  5. the second ending you have is the one i saw. the police kills her after she stands up and says her boyfriend’s name

  6. i thought this movie was gr8, wasnt scared big time but it had me anticipating wat the demon was goin to do nex! lol the scene at nite wen they were asleep, my eyes were scoping up and down different parts of d screen jus waitin to see wat was gonna happen LOL!! the seconding ending was the one i saw as well, but she didnt lunge at the police wit the knife, she got out of a “demon state” and was asking where micah was but they thought she was gonna attack and shot her!! hmmm i didnt like that ending, wanna see the other alternative endings though!!

  7. I believe this has to be one of the most realistic & surreal movies of all times. I truly enjoyed the parts of the film that were somewhat slow & motionless, because as soon as something happened… BAM!!! It truly rocks your world! I actually was in somewhat of a believed state of mind when I finished watching & spent sometime searching for the murders of… & such!! Thanks to unknown actors bringing back the fear factor in scary movies. I’d like to see more unknown actors in our future!

  8. that shit is fuckin crazy

  9. the first movie that made me scream EVER and in public. 😀 not scary but def. a GOOD spooky movie

  10. this is the worst movie ever made
    at least if she was naked it could be tollerable!!!

  11. :O si me enkanto mui mui mui bueno taba mui bckn

  12. scary shit

  13. this movie was more funny then scary!!!

  14. In Ending #2 the police do not shoot her. It looks like they did, but if you listen the cops radio in “Shots Fired…” and you can see them start looking around for who fired them.

  15. tHiiS m0viiE WAS s0 SCAryy thAtt i WAS SHAkiiNG aFTErr ii g0tt oUt of THE m0viiE tHEatERs,, && i HAs t0 SLEep wiit THE liGHt 0Nn:)

  16. I just watched the version with the police ending..I find there was a lot of unanswered questions such as why the demon was haunting her and what did the demon want.

    Was just watching the ending again and right before the police walk up stairs, the light in the other room turns on and then off in a few seconds. Then, a second before the gun shot goes off, the door to the other room closes.

  17. I masturbated in the theater to this movie, It was great.

  18. i thot the movie is real,but DAMN katie is just an actress and micah? i noe nuting bout him..cause this is the most scary movie ever that have got into brunei…

  19. WOW THAT WAS THE BEST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!
    I LOVE HOW TEY SHOW THE FOOT STEPS AND HOW THE BOPARD BURNS AND STUFF!!!BUT NOW THAT I KNOW IT IS FAKE IM ALOT MORE HAPPYLOL!!

  20. noluyıııııı

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