Friday, October 11, 2013

Halloween Countdown (Day 10: Video-Drone)

Once again I'm running late with these articles as I spent the evening with a long overdue visit to the parents, so I'm gonna do a short enough piece on a series that I'm not particularly a huge fan of. After watching The Amityville Haunting (which inspired the last blog entry) I decided to check out Paranormal Activity 3, as I was curious to see how this film would compare to The Asylum's own rip-off version of the series. If it wasn't for Netflix showing parts 2 & 3, I wouldn't have bothered watching the sequels that followed the original film.

I'm sure I've said this before (and at time of writing I haven't bothered to check), but for the sake of getting this article done I'll say it again. While I do appreciate the found footage style of horror film, I firmly believe that these films do not work in a cinematic environment, as it takes away from the supposed reality of the images onscreen, not to mention the audiences have been disruptive everytime I've gone to see one of these films in the cinema. Hence my reasons for not checking them out at time of release.

As for the films themselves, my opinions of them are as follows:

Paranormal Activity: I thought the film was a pretty solid found footage flick, although the boyfriend character was a pain in the ass and I preferred the alternate endings, as the one used in the film was too cheesy and a tad silly. Plus lead actress Katie Featherston was easy on the eyes.

Paranormal Activity 2: it took me three nights to finish this movie as I kept falling asleep due to boredom. While the prequel idea was a little clever, it still had the same annoying characters and logic present in the first film. Plus I was starting to get a little tired with the whole "jump scare" gimmick. But it did have Katie Featherston in a bikini.

With these style of films, there's no real alternative but to find other ways to keep the format in order to tell the story, as moving in a different direction hasn't done any wonders for the sequels to The Blair Witch Project and Quarantine (which I went into detail here). But at the same time there's only so many times where nothing really happens until the next jump scare, and while I didn't have any real problems with the story, it didn't make me want to check out the next film anytime soon. Until it becomes available on Netflix in order to satisfy my curiosity.

84 minutes later, along with the verdict.....

If I was going to compare this to the second film, at least this one kept me interested enough not to fall asleep. Without going into spoiler territory I thought the continuing backstory to this even earlier prequel was pretty good, which even gives a little credibility to the one told in the second film, when you take into account the series as a whole. Also the inventive ways of capturing the footage during the eighties was clever, even if there is a hint of convenience. And even the scare scenes have improved. Only downside is the limited appearance of Katie Featherston, who only appears within the first few minutes.

I will more than likely get around to watching the fourth one in future, but for now I'm not really that pushed. Even after watching the third film and finding out that it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be, I get the feeling that maybe I should leave the series on a somewhat high note. And I guess I'm not the only one, judging by the poor reviews the fourth film received, along with box office takings.

This is not uncommon for horror film franchises to end up in this position, especially the one it took over from as the annual October/Halloween horror series (and my favourite one at that), SAW. However while looking through the upcoming release schedule for this month, I noticed that Paranormal Activity 5 did not make an appearance. On further investigation through IMDb, it was meant to come out this month, then it was pushed to next January (with some lame excuse that January is the new horror film month). But now it has been moved to October of next year. Even thought the film is more or less completed, from what I gather. Besides it's not like they're expensive to make.

It can't be any coincidence that the poor reception has lead to the decision to push forward the release date, either to slow down the rate of these films coming out so people don't get sick of them, or just leave the annual horror franchise title to the likes of Insidious (of which I have no real intention of seeing the second one). Whatever the reason, it is a major blow to the series, although at the same time the series has just simply run its course, and to maximize the takings of a final send off, the delay to next year may be the most logical step to take.

As long as it stars Katie Featherston of course.

And on a final note.....

In honour of getting through three of these films when I thought I would have just stopped after the first one.

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