Random Factoid #369

1 08 2010

Have you ever demanded it?

The new system of getting little-known movies to theaters everywhere requires viewer participation at a new high. They have to go to the site Eventful and literally demand to get the movie played in their town. The only movie worth noting that has been released through this strategy is last fall’s horror surprise “Paranormal Activity.”

But the real question is how much of the success of that campaign was the movie and how much was the strategy. I’m more inclined to think it was the movie, or rather the trailer, which spooked YouTube audiences and became a phenomenon. Before you knew it, everyone was buzzing about the movie, mostly because of the audience reactions shown in the trailer.

Even I myself hailed the strategy as a winner back in October, but it’s getting a real test now. Did you know there’s a “Grease” sing-along that plays only in the towns that demand it? I’m pretty sure that endeavor has been a pretty big misfire. Sure, the last thing someone wants to pay $10 to see nowadays is something they can watch for free on ABC Family, but do the woes of “Grease” spell the doom of demanding?

What do you think? Will there be another “Paranormal Activity” to remind us that the demanding works? Or is the success merely an anomaly and demanding is headed the way of the dinosaur and the VHS?

REVIEW: Paranormal Activity

10 10 2009

Fear is a common emotion, and filmmakers constantly work to goad it out of us.  The horror genre is most likely to instigate the aforementioned sentiment, and directors often resign to employing quick thrills and flashy graphics to force it out of us.  But with four actors, one camera, and $10,000, Oren Peli has shown that fear can be found in even the most ordinary places.  He conceived “Paranormal Activity” out of his own fear, stating,

“I think a lot of people can relate to the question of what happens at night when you’re most vulnerable.  You have no idea what’s going on.  This taps into the most primal fear, if something is lurking in your home and there’s not much you can do about it.”

Peli’s vision of horror is nothing short of brilliant, finding the surreal in the real and the paranormal in the normal.  The result is a truly terrifying experience for audiences.

The story revolves around the haunting of couple “engaged to be engaged” Micah and Katie.  We enter the story in medias res as they are beginning to deal with the suspicious incidents occurring in their home.  A psychic tells them that the culprit is most likely a demon that has followed Katie since childhood and something has occurred to aggravate the spirit.  Although Micah laughs off the opinion, Katie is deeply bothered and scared.  Micah purchases an expensive camera set in hopes of capturing the demon on film, and the entire movie is told from the vantage point of the camera lens.  As the days go by, events seem to point towards the validity of the psychic’s opinion.  But will the camera capture anything other than a distraught and disturbed couple?

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