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Another one!?!

In 2009, the low-budget supernatural horror film Paranormal Activity burst onto the scene. Made for an astonishing $15,000.00, the movie chronicled the story of a young couple, Katie and Micah, who are experiencing strange happenings around their new home in Carlsbad. They set up a video camera in their bedroom and around their home to capture whatever is causing these disturbances. Katie sleepwalks over to a sleeping Micah. The sound of footsteps fill the silence as they sleep. A slow rumble grows louder and louder each passing night. Each setup builds and builds as the audience grows anxious and more spooked with each nighttime diary becomes more and more terrifying until we a brought to the climax and writer/director Oren Peli plays his final hand for maximum effect when the audience can sense that the big scare is coming and we are gripping our armchairs (or dates) out of anticipation and dread. That's why the first film worked so well: Peli wisely doesn't go for the jugular earlier on and instead uses the time to get the audience emotionally invested in the story and the characters. He wants us and the couple to be pushed to our psychological breaking point before he reveals the big scare.

When I first saw this, not only was I freaked out and scared shitless, I thought this man did the genre a huge favor: Ever since horror movies such as Eli Roth's Hostel and James Wan's Saw came out and the Hollywood suits saw the returns, said movies have taken a page out their respective playbooks and amped up the scenes of sadism, blood, gore and torture, because that's what they believe their audience wants to see more of, regardless of the quality of the story or whether or not we give a damn about the characters. By skipping the blood and gore, Peli showed that a tense atmosphere and practical effects in a confined space can be just as effective and as scary as a maniac about to rip some poor bastard apart limb from limb.

But, like Hostel and the Saw film series, Hollywood saw the returns on Paranormal Activity, and not only did Paramount Pictures order more sequels, but it gave way to the "found-footage" craze that would be the basis for films like the J.J. Abrams-produced monster movie Cloverfield, The Last Exorcism, Chronicle and The Devil Inside. This leads us to present-day, as Paramount released the new trailer to the next installment to the PA franchise, titled Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

I'll give this one credit: it's ditching the stick cameras around the house and capture things that move cliche from the looks of the trailer, but I'm still skeptical about the whole thing, especially since it's being released in January, the month where studios dump out all their crappy movies that would, otherwise bomb horribly in any other year, so they can get something of a decent return on them.  For the most part, I'm just not tired of seeing this franchise, point blank. They had a really great thing with the first PA movie, and they should have stopped there.


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