Friday, August 13, 2010

Paranormal Activity Truly Frightening

Paranormal Activity (2007) is one of the most genuinely frightening films I have ever experienced, and having reached middle (if not older middle) age and devoured a ridiculous volume of cinema, it takes a lot to scare me. The gore genre films such as Saw, Hostel, bore me, or worse (House of 1000 Corpses), are disgusting and unwatchable. While the more respectable Carpenter films (Halloween) and the best of the zombie films (Dawn of the Dead) are fun in a certain respect, they don't evoke the slightest fear at all. None.

Films that truly frighten, such as Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973), Scott's Alien (1979), Kubrick's The Shining (1980), The Blair Witch Project (1999), the Ring (2002), and The Descent (2005) provide far greater experiences. Nothing produces fear like an unknown, barely seen, and clearly not understood evil menace lurking from a place beyond one's grasp. Paranormal Activity successfully employs these elements in a way that patiently escalates a growing malevolence terrorizing and stalking a couple with clearly evil intent.

Shot for a song (about $15K), the film now has the distinction of generating the greatest return on investment in motion picture history. Yes, there will be a sequel probably as horrible as most sequels, but the original is indeed original and worth a watch. Afterward, you might find yourself sleeping with the lights on.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Framer said...

Just think you could have filmed this AND Napoleon Dynamite for about a quarter of what the Rio Nuevo movie cost. The entire Rio Nuevo project will never return the amount of money back that either of those films brought in.

8/14/2010 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rio Nuevo Film Profit and Loss:

Total Revenue: $820,000

Expenses:
Video Camera Equipment: $1500
Camera Operators: $1200
Screenwriting: $1800
Research: $1500
Editing: $4000
Travel and Lodging: $50,000
Meals & Entertainment: $60,000
Larry/Dan Consulting: $150,000
TREO Admin Fee: $225,000
Tucson Chamber Fee: $75,000
Tucson Permit Fee: $50,000

Total Expenses: $620,000

Profit: $200,000

8/15/2010 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

The people who made that film really made a killing. Technology has made it possible to shoot and edit high quality footage for almost free. A feature film of that quality for $15,000 is really amazing.

Regarding the $820,000 film about Tucson, what a boondoggle. I watched the small excerpt - footage of the desert and cacti.

People should watch Paranormal keeping in mind it cost 15K and then go see the Tucson film knowing it cost 820K. Those who do will get a good sense of cloth and why Tucson economic development is the farce that it is.

8/15/2010 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SMart blog. You certainly know your films. I would be interested in what you thought of Jacob's Ladder.

I also think Carpenter's rendition of The Thing, despite the drawback of featuring Kurt Russell, was quite a scare.

This all recognized, perhaps the Tucson film is the most horrifying movie of all. Over 800,000 taxpayer dollars vaporized to show the people of Tucson pictures of cactus.

8/15/2010 8:41 PM  

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