My son Jett, a Syracuse senior, saw Paranormal Activity tonight and sent along the following as soon as he got home: “I’m not a horror fan, and certainly not by present-day standards with torture porn, decapitation and brutal rape repping the norm. Paranormal Activity, on the other hand, does so much less and scares you so much more.
“I saw it tonight with my buddy Ryan at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse, NY. The mall was packed with kids and a huge line was wrapped around the corner. It was obvious what movie everyone came to see. I was impressed because this film was strictly promoted off viral campaigning and word-of-mouth. You’d think people were lining up to see New Moon.
“It’s basically about a couple based in San Diego. The narrative is built around the girl, Katie, who has a long history of ghost encounters since she was a kid. The boyfriend decides to document the ensuing nights on tape. We’re led to believe because the boyfriend is such a douchebag by taunting Katie’s demon that the demon encounters get worse and worse.
“The film is a constant build-up that starts with creaking doors and pounding footsteps and ends with bite marks and broken mirrors. The structure is repetitive by rotating the day and night scenes. In daylight the couple just reflects on what happened the previous night and how they can get rid of the demon, but when night falls everyone in the audience curls up, expecting the encounters to only get worse.
“Each night the demon does something different and more brutal. Towards the end even the macho guys sitting behind us were moaning ike nancy boys. The fear is so intense, it’s suffocating. You’re left guessing what will happen in the end, and in the end, you’ll still be wrong. You’re left speechless and reluctant to go to sleep. Even as I write this, I’m not so sure I’ll get even three hours.
“As Ryan and I left the theatre, the mall was even more of a madhouse. Hundreds of teens and college kids were lining up for the next showing. They were asking us, ‘Was it scary?’ Yes, it was — the scariest movie I’ve ever seen.