Not Very Nice

film 6 of 7

Paranormal Activity

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 10, 2015

A very effective movie. Most consumer grade, lo-fi filmmaking just ends up being annoyingly mannerist. Here the approach makes dramatic sense, is executed with skill and discipline, and adds very nicely to the overall affect. The build and distribution of expository information and escalating anomalies/scares is very well judged. Special commendation for the character of the psychic, who refreshingly demonstrates the fact that he really is a psychic by entering the house, ascertaining the nature of the danger, and getting the hell out of there. The climax is terrific. Altogether well done.

On the other hand it should be added that this is a singularly nasty little picture. Putting the audience through it (cf. Alfred Hitchcock) is one thing. Gleeful/punitive nihilism is another. Mind you, the theology here is really interesting, or maybe the un-theology. The doomed protagonist is once again begging her mate to stop provoking this malevolent force. There’s a poignant pause. “Why can’t you have a little faith in me?” he asks. But doesn’t there have to be something bigger in order for faith to be justified? Churches, doctrines, moral and ethical systems, industry or artistry, virtue, loving relationships, even righteous heathens or conscientious atheists? What do these guys have? After Hamlet sees a vision of the infernal depths he says, “Oh, God!” These guys just say “f___” a lot.