The Paranormal Activity Effect
The long journey of this movie 10 years after of the Blair Witch Project revolutionized the shaky cam horror genre is spooky as the movie (which I haven't seen yet like most of horror fans in America). Internet buzz is high (just like BWP), midnight screenings are out of control and the pro and the anti fans of Paranormal Activity are shooting their 2 cents about what they think.
The fact that there are crowd reports during these screenings says it all. It's very similar to the feel the Blair Watch Project had in 1999. I remember when I saw that in the theater, with an overly psyched up and hyped up crowd. Some left feeling utterly disappointed and others like myself felt it was creative and groundbreaking. After watching it again a few months ago, I realized that it wasn't the spookiness and bumps in the night that made it scary but the fact that Heather, Josh and Mike we're decent, funny loveable hipsters that made me care about the fucked up predicament they were in.
Some of the comments and reviews are in. A few have deemed it unscary and overhyped others as the new trailer suggests are jumping out of their seats. I mean check out that trailer.
I first commented that I thought all these people were actors "acting scared" as I mean it's a freakin showing in Hollywood, CA. Really? People clutching each other and jumping out of their seats? Screaming? Shrieking? Puh-lease.
Maybe I'm wrong. I'll have to see it for myself.
Even the director Oren Peli is shocked by the response of the movie.
So what's the effect? Well indie horror cinema has been trying to capture the Blair Witch in a bottle for some time now. Dominic Perez's Evil Things is in the same vain and it's quite good at getting the scares with the shaky cam feel. Rec (not Quarantine) took the shaky cam into a zombie infested apartment building and has spawned Rec 2. The real question will come on how Paramount Pictures responds. Will they give this film a wider release?
Duh of course they will.
The midnight box office has been insane and the crowds massive (I mean see Bloody Disgusting's LA riot). But my bold prediction is this. I think we'll see big studios use the midnight show as a barometer for indie horror movies they sign deals with. Dimension has their Dimension Extreme, Lions Gate has Ghosthouse Underground, etc. I think what we'll see is test screenings for indie horror movies that would have eventually ended up straight to DVD. I mean this won't happen for all horror straight to DVDs but I think the big studios will see what the hype is for a particular movie and if they see it causing chaos, it'll be in a few major cities and the return of the midnight show will make a triumphant return.
And then we'll start calling this the Paranormal Activity Effect and thus it will replace the BWP as a verb for the revolution of the shaky cam horror genre.