Saturday, October 24, 2009

Modern Cinema and the Paranormal Activity Effect

Howdy folks,

It's time again for a look at modern cinema and the breakout successes that frame the zeitgeist. As the title says we're looking at the sensation that is Paranormal Activity. It's the third breakout hit this year that was indie made and released smaller than wide.

It has managed a $25K per theater average, much higher than even Gran Torino of last year. It has yet to reach 1,000 theaters but should end this weekend with $60M gross. It's said that Paramount only spent $11M for the pic and is providing their greatest return in HISTORY. (Paramount's pretty old)

So the question is why are people flocking in droves for this movie? It's I guess because of the quality of it. Rather than going for the gore (which people have seen enough of for it to be old) they went for the tension and knowledge of danger. The handheld self-documenting feel of it definitely helped with the claustrophobic environment.

Looking at the Active\Reactive paradigm, we see that it is established as inhibiting vs prohibitive. Katie plays the Inhibiting role in her attempts to convince Micah's Prohibitive archetype of her psychic perception. This serves to build the greatest amount of tension between the characters which transfers to the audience.

I may go and see the movie if I can find it even though scary movies are usually for me an experiment in determining how everything was done - OK that's every movie - but it kind of kills the "scary." Or maybe my years as a Paratrooper thickened my skin too much.

Anyway, I'll definitely update this post to fully examine the way it builds tension and how it's complimented by the dialog and interaction where interaction is defined as the reason for existing dialog patterns.


Anonymous said...

Hey movie was scary like hell.
We left halfway and went to our hotel room, it you know what happened next. Don't know why she wanted to see this movie on our honeymoon night.

Good post anyway.
Drop by at the Expo, forget NYC, move to LA...
Ya I'm late.
But better late than never.

Christian H. said...

Believe me I'm saving right now. I just want to have a month or two to just write and network.

Soon, soon.

wcmartell said...

The great thing about ABNORMAL is the basic concept - those noises we hear sometimes in the empty house at night? Demons. Effing with us while we sleep. That time you *know* you left your car keys on the table and the next day they were somewhere else? Demons. Those lights you *swear* you turned off that are on the next morning? Demons. All of these boring things become scary....

So, it's s scare/spooky moment when they couple is asleep and lights go on in another room! But, it's just some PA flipping the switch off camera. Most of the film is $1.98 FX that anyone could do... but this guy was smart enough to actually do it.

Christian H. said...

Yeah, Bill, I think of stuff like that for most of my movies so that I can be known for saving money.

I'm banging away on the outline of a serial killer\revenge story with some interesting touches.

I don't think gore isn't scary, it's gory, bordering on disgusting.