When I think back to the colossal disappointment of Paranormal Activity (2009), I'm stuck. I want nothing more than to review the film in a fair and objective way to warn off my fellow horror fans from a film that rises, at its best moments, to the heights of mediocrity. I want to discourage the continued support of this film without warding off viewers from other low budget horror films. Some are actually good films that never receive a proper theatrical release and take years to find an audience. This one jumped on the hype machine of web marketing and somehow charmed critics that usually eviscerate any horror film for being both derivative and perverted.
I'm not at the point that I can fairly do that analysis.
Instead, I call to your attention the film I kept wishing I was watching during the entirety of Paranormal Activity: Leslie Nielson's 1990 send-up of The Exorcist, televangelists, and Linda Blair's career, Repossessed.
Is the humor sophisticated? Nope. Is it unexpected or breaking any new ground? Absolutely not. Is it a raucous good time that provides the clear solution to the protagonist's main conflict in Paranormal Activity? Yes. Yes it is. Who knew Rock 'n Roll was the devil's only true weakness?
May I present to you the absolute highlight of the film, the exorcism scene, which manages to be scarier and more entertaining than the entirety of Paranormal Activity? For those who do not want to be spoiled on a 19 year old film, I'll post the video after the jump.
And honestly, you can probably buy a used copy of this somewhere for less than the cost of a movie ticket. With shipping, it would probably still be less than a ticket to Paranormal Activity.
And Linda Blair hamming it up behind a pound of make-up is more realistic than any performance in Paranormal Activity.
And the continuity - even with the randomly appearing and disappearing props, illogical costume changes, shifting accents, and color commentary from pro-wrestlers - is far greater.
I really don't think I'm exaggerating. The holy water sequence is scarier than all but the last scene in Paranormal Activity. The direct references to Exorcist 2: The Heretic are scarier. The fake house plant in the corner is scarier.
Save yourself the trouble. If you need to see a horror film this weekend, go see Zombieland. You'll be less disappointed by Rob Zombie's Halloween 2. Support Trick'r Treat if you really feel the need to be a patron of independent horror. Just don't see Paranormal Activity.
Just kidding. I can't embed the full clip. And it's horribly edited anyway.
Instead, I'll post the one that has the second half of the scene with no cuts. Please to enjoy my third favorite musical moment in a horror film behind Baby Jane singing to herself in the mirror and the townsfolk of The Wicker Man singing Sumer Is Icumin In.