Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Movie Recs: Paranormal Activity, One and Two

Wanna See Somethin' Scary? 

You either love scary movies or hate them. I love them. My typical problem with them, is they're usually not scary, or at least they're not scary as advertised. Sixth Sense? Don't try to Shyamalan me. Blair Witch? Oh, I'm so scared. Of twigs.

For Halloween last year, I recommended The Strangers.  It isn't precisely scary -- nothing supernatural or paranormal happens -- it's just a couple in the woods who answer the door to someone they shouldn't. That's the entire plot. The couple is played by Liv Tyler and the guy from Felicity (I think there were two; this is one of them).  When  Liv Tyler asks their uninvited guests (again: not giving anything away here) "why are you doing this?" the answer is: "Because you were home." It isn't my usual kind of scary movie, but I stand by it. It's good.

My type of scary movie is more Paranormal Activity,  which I watched for my birthday with Nick. I am not normally a fan of gimmicks, or low-budget, much less shot-on-video, but I did like the premise of inexplicable things that go bump in the night. We started out the movie with him on one sofa, with one dog, and me on the other, with another dog. I thought that would be fine. About ten minutes in, I gave up and said, "ok, you're gonna have to come over here and hold my hand."

We both have a high, high tolerance for scare-factors, and by the end, we were both whimpering in fear. Success.

I had high hopes for the sequel...and I still do. I just can't judge it properly, because we saw it sitting next to an insane clown family who spent the entire movie talking to the screen, "oh no you ditn't!" and "girrrrrrrrrl, Jesus ought not've let them make this movie." This was accompanied by a lot of screaming, and on at least one occasion, a break to answer a ringing cellphone. "What am I doin? Nuttin'...." (followed by, likely in response to a query about the noise,) "Oh. Yeah. I'm at the Movies."

Was it scary? I always judge people by the way they respond to the guy in the movie who says things like, "don't be ridiculous!" or "there's no such thing as ghosts." Aside from the normal horror movie conventions (that guy's usually the first to meet a terrible gruesome fate), it always irritates me, because in my experience, if one of my otherwise sane, reasonable, non-Addict, non-Drunk friends tells me about something out of the ordinary happening to them, my first response would never be, "oh ho, you must be nuts." (This doesn't apply to my friends who are already known to be nuts, because you always have to take what they say with a grain of salt.)

I know this much from all those childhood years of reading Stephen King. If somebody ever asks you, "Wanna see something scary?" the best-advised answer is always, "No."

So, here's what happened after the movie. And then I'll judge you by what you think of it.

We spent a long evening of prep work in the kitchen, and then my visiting houseguest turned in early, while I sacked out in front of the bigscreen. Before she went up to bed, I told her to close the door to the TV room (it sticks, and it takes a pretty hefty amount of force to open or close it). I pointed this out to her because... well, it was relevant after I watched the first movie. 

About a half hour later, I heard her walk down the stairs (probably to get something from the kitchen I assumed). And a few minutes later, the door to the TV room swung open. "Ha, Ha Sooz," I yelled. "Very funny." (Thinking she was screwing with me, which, admittedly, would've been a little funny.)

But there was no response.

After a few seconds, I got up and wandered out to the kitchen. No sign of her. She was still upstairs. With her bedroom door closed.  She said this morning she'd heard me talking but figured I was probably on the phone or something.

Do I wanna see something scary? Why no. I'd rather not, thanks.


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