Friday, January 8, 2010

Chris 2010 Viewings #3: Paranormal Activity

There's a great Mr. Show sketch where two unibrowed lummoxes accidentally bump into each other in a bar. Rather than saying "excuse me" and moving on with their lives, they get up in each other's faces and refuse to back down because to do so would be to diminish their masculinity. Ultimately they get married and spend their entire lives together, never letting their battle of cocksmanship subside, even when they're sleeping. As they say "it's funny because it's true", which you're reminded of any time you pass someone on the highway and they just can't let that stand because letting you pass would be like admitting they have a small penis. Their penis is HUGE and by God they are not going to let you forget it!

Paranormal Activity is about this phenomenon of masculinity, only our poor protagonist Micah lacks the good sense to not get into a dick-measuring contest with an honest-to-God demon. The demon gets started with some small-time shenanigans like whispering in the ear of Micah's girlfriend, dropping keys on the floor, casting a shadow, closing the bedroom door while the couple sleeps. In each case Micah rejects his girlfriend's pleas for a sensible solution and ups the ante in some small way. Considering that we - and they - learn that this demon is capable of all manner of evil actions, I have to consider the demon's reactions to Micah's attempts to assert his manhood to be something very close to amused restraint. Kind of like if you are being pestered by a fly; it flitters about and you brush it away. But eventually you are going to kill that fly. So I have to consider the demon in this movie very reasonable. It puts up with Micah for 80-odd minutes of screen time and I don't know that I've ever let a fly live that long if it was persistently annoying me. And it's not as if a predictable garden-variety North American adult male dope like Micah is that difficult a target.

I don't know if Paranormal Activity is as scary as it was made out to be, and I wasn't really expecting it to be. It's like an episode of A&E's Paranormal State if that douchebag Ryan and his team of stumblebums forgot to show up. The DVD has two endings, neither of which is entirely satisfactory. One has a good shock moment but blows it at the last second with some lame CGI. The other is restrained, but ruined by a badly executed final moment. Watch them both, I guess. Mike saw a print with a different ending that sounds worse than either, so we should count our blessings.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Awesome review :D