Tag Archives: Paranormal Activity

Three Creepy Stories the ‘Paranormal Activity’ Franchise Should Explore Next

Paranormal_Activity_The_Marked_Ones_PosterSince Paranormal Activity arrived in 2009, the plan seemed to be for the franchise to take Saw’s place and churn out a new installment each Halloween. Trouble is, even though Paranormal Activity 5 was announced and given an October 25, 2013 due date almost immediately after film four hit theaters, that didn’t end up happening.

In July of 2013, news broke that Paranormal Activity 5 was uprooted from that original release and plopped back down in January 2014. A move like that was alarming considering Paranormal Activity seemed to have been making the push to turn the films into a Halloween staple, but at the same time The Devil InsideTexas Chainsaw 3D and Mama all recently proved that January was prime time for horror. Well, it turns out, the Paranormal Activity series wants to reap the benefits of both debut dates.

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The Most Disturbing Horror Movies

paranormal-activity-140106-520Why do people watch horror movies? There are many answers to that question, but I go for the obvious – I enjoy being scared. Whether it’s a jump scare that makes my heart skip a beat or a creepy concept that makes me wonder if something’s lurking in the dark late at night, that fear gives me a welcome jolt. Even as someone who’ll watch anything and everything in the genre, however, there’s always the concern of coming across a disturbingly bad movie. And that doesn’t necessarily have to mean disturbingly bad likeHalloween II or The Roommate, but rather films that are so off-putting or have concepts that are so alarming that not only is it impossible to enjoy, but it makes you unhappy.

Admittedly you can’t generalize when writing about what makes a person scared, so here’s a breakdown of the disturbingly good and disturbingly bad from a personal perspective.

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Review: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Paranormal_Activity_The_Marked_Ones_Poster“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” isn’t half as scary as three of its four predecessors, but its strong characters and clever story layers do prove the mythology is worth expanding.

“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” kicks off at Jesse’s (Andrew Jacobs) high school graduation. After the festivities wrap up, Jesse talks his way into holding on to the family camcorder and uses it to spy on his creepy neighbor, Anna (Gloria Sandoval). It’s all harmless fun until Anna is murdered and Jesse gets the bright idea to snoop around her apartment. Turns out, eerie bloodstains aren’t the only things Anna left behind; unbeknownst to Jesse, she also left her mark on him.

“The Marked Ones” is far from a franchise favorite, but it is an adequate installment. Gone are the days of the late night time-lapse. “The Marked Ones” is almost entirely handheld and while the camerawork is a bit dizzying, the change is refreshing. The whole film is shot by Jesse and his buddy Hector (Jorge Diaz) and while you may wonder why they don’t drop the camera to run for their lives, unlike many found footage films, that thought won’t cross your mind until after it’s over. The high school graduation is a very sensible way to land the camera in Jesse’s hands and then from there, Jesse and Hector do exactly what you’d think two teenage boys might do with a camera – slide down a staircase in a laundry basket and spy on their weirdo neighbor. By the time they’re recording the scary stuff, the movie’s already established a strong tone and beat, so you’re never compelled to question their motivation to keep filming.

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Review: Paranormal Activity 4

The sun goes down, everyone goes to bed, that low rumble kicks in and the demon comes out to play. The first “Paranormal Activity” was entirely new territory. In the second, the plot thickened and scares still felt fresh. By the time we hit the third, we were well aware of what was coming, but quality character development kept us firmly invested. While “Paranormal Activity 4” does achieve a degree of success, franchise quality is clearly starting to crack and give way to the gimmick.

New town, new family. In round four, the “Paranormal Activity” franchise ditches California for Nevada and puts the focus on Alex (Kathryn Newton), her parents, little brother Wyatt and boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively). They’re a loving family, living in a beautiful home in a quaint suburban neighborhood – minus the weird little boy that lives across the street, Robbie (Brady Allen). When Robbie’s mother is rushed to the hospital, Alex’s parents are kind enough to take him in for a few nights. Cue the traditional “Paranormal Activity” “Night #” labels.

Initially, the idea of having another “Paranormal Activity” without Katie and Kristi at the core was a little disconcerting, but Alex is sweet, charming and believable enough to win you over in minutes, and the same goes for Ben and her family. After quickly reminding viewers of the horrors of 2006 and that Katie is still at large, the film cuts to Alex’s point of view, offering a look at the new family dynamic. Thanks to a well-established norm, Robbie’s arrival is as jarring for the audience as it is for Alex. The concept of the creepy kid next door letting the demon in is both eerie and, thanks to Ben’s commentary, quite amusing, but it does slowly fizzle out.

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10 Items Movies Have Taught Us Not to Touch, Ever

In this weekend’s new release The Possession, poor little Em Brenek just has to buy an old box at a yard sale. Even though the thing clearly isn’t meant to be opened, Em insists and she’s left with creepy fingers popping up in the back of her throat. If only Em had watched a few more horror movies, she would have picked up on the telltale signs that something isn’t right about her precious little box. No, we don’t want to live our lives in plastic bubbles, but thanks to the genre we know that there are quite a few things out in the world that might be alluring, but are just not worth touching.

Infamous Videotapes

When legend has it that if you watch a certain videotape you’ll die within seven days of watching it, you might as well stay on the safe side and opt out of popping it into the VHS player. Nightmares, nose bleeds and incessant phone calls just aren’t worth it. If you’re so curious that you can’t bear to go on without catching what’s on this haunted videotape, better figure out if you’ve got the guts to make a copy and pass it on. But then what poor soul will you pass it on to? Good thing VHS players are just about obsolete!

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Review: Paranormal Activity 3

With the Saw franchise over and done with, Paranormal Activity finally has the holiday all to itself. If you’re like me, you were rather used to Saw’s Halloween splash, spending the holiday watching helpless victims get ripped limb from limb, blood splattering everywhere and a puppet ride around on a tricycle. No, it wasn’t quality filmmaking, but it was tradition and holiday appropriate. Well, no more settling necessary. The Paranormal Activity franchise has not only continued to deliver quality material, but now, with three films under its belt, shows it has the potential at being a viable and worthy long standing tradition.

Round three picks up just before the events of the first two films, in 2005. Sisters Katie and Kristi (Katie Featherston and Sprague Grayden) are in incoming baby Hunter’s freshly painted room. While there, Katie also takes the opportunity to unload some unwanted keepsakes, an old box of VHS tapes. Next year, Kristi’s house is burglarized and the only item missing is that very box of tapes.

Jump back to 1988. Young Katie and Kristi (Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown) are doing the usual for girls their age – having tea parties, celebrating birthdays and getting dressed up for picture day at school. However, little Kristi also has another hobby, talking to her invisible friend Toby. While her mother, Julie (Lauren Bittner) writes the behavior off as mere child’s play, Julie’s live-in boyfriend, Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith), becomes obsessed with Toby and the strange and inexplicable bumps in the night. In true Paranormal Activity form, he arms up with video cameras and sets them up around the house, determined to find out what’s going on while they sleep.

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Don’t Shoot! 8 Subjects Never to Record

Demons, sex, and other things the movies taught us never to commit to camcorder.

After seven years of Saw ringing in the holiday, it’s about time something truly scary gets to do the honor –something like Paranormal Activity. For the past two years, the Paranormal movies have shared the Halloween spotlight alongside Saw VI and Saw 3D, but this time around Paranormal Activity 3 gets the spotlight all to itself.

As someone who used to work as a cameraperson for a local news station, I can assure you that whether you’re merely looking for a man-on-the-street interview or perhaps catching someone red-handed in the middle of a crime, the large majority gets pretty testy when recording devices are involved. Lucky for us, the film industry highlights a few touchy subjects that are bound to raise some serious problems should they be forced in front of the lens.

Considering dusting off the old video camera? Don’t even think about recording any of these …

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