A friend and I, with hope of entering that fall-time realm of spooky shivers, saw “Paranormal Activity” this past weekend. Hailed by many as one of those scariest movies of all time, this low-budget startle-stash has been very well received. Using minimalist effects, a single set (inside the director’s home) and a lone camera, Paranormal Activity harkens to some universal fright factors. Where do we go to keep safe from whatever creature lives in our closets (and perhaps moves out when we hit puberty)? Our beds, nestled beneath blanket to warm those chills. Here, in the bedroom, and particularly while the main characters sleep, is where this movie steps up to bat (bat!).Micah (pronounced Mee-kah) and Katie, dating and living together in a large, empty house, set up a camera at night to capture the actions of some spectral meanie that has perpetually picked on poor Katie nearly her entire life. Micah obnoxiously totes his new cinematic toy around like a security blanket, all the while acting like some self-proclaimed Ghostbuster. Sorry, Micah. Had Bill Murray been there, it would have been a different story but, the camera store was fresh out of Proton-packs so Micah had to do his best by acting like somewhat of an unlikeable frat-boy.
Spooked senseless, Katie pleads throughout the film for outside help while Micah, ever sensitive, does anything but oblige. The movie got frustrating listening to them bicker, Micah often just being that guy that people do not like.
Anyhow, on to the scares. In bed, the camera sits still, watching the couple sleep. These are the moments that do some saving for the movie. Lumbering steps on the stairs? Scary. Stuff being moved or slammed across a room? Got me. But these aspects were simply too few and far between. I found myself huffing sassily when the two were out of bed. I genuinely enjoyed the frights but the dragging in between left me yawning. Until the end, it’s too sporadic. You may get a burst of horrendous terrors for about 15 minutes in closing, but I could have done without the buildup. At parts, one of the scariest movies I’ve seen in a while and at others, as boring as “Goodwill Hunting,” only not good. And it’s not even long. Stick with the classics this Halloween. I just watched “The Shining” again and Nicholson is always a sure thing. Go watch it, get spooked and put your $8 to something much better. Eight ghostly tacos… wooooooooo! Happy Halloween viewing, readers!