Well, I finally caught ‘Paranormal Activity’ this weekend. I actually tried to catch the movie a few weeks ago during its original small midnight release run in Santa Cruz, but it was sold out by the time we got to the theater. The reason we arrived at the theater late is a fascinating story by itself, but to slightly paraphrase the event, it involved my family of 3 ready to play a match of laser tag at The Boardwalk, and being joined by a solo 30+ male in the maze at the last minute. This man literally hummed every bar of the instructional film by memory, selected his vest and laser like he was special ops member, cornered every one of us like his life depended on it, and was often talking/mumbling to himself during and after the game. Needless to say….I think that episode left me with more of a haunting experience than ‘Paranormal Activity’.

     With that being said, I did enjoy the movie quite a bit. I applaud the filmmakers for making a truly creepy film with a limited budget and very few actors or set-pieces. It’s nice to see a movie that builds its horror from well drawn out characters and events, rather than over the top violence and gore (Saw 6….I’m looking at you). The premise of a haunting has been done to death over the years, so this really did seem like a fresh take on the matter. Sure people will compare it to ‘The Blair Witch’ or even ‘Cloverfield’ due to the handheld cameras, but it truly is a unique film and does deserve a viewing for anyone even remotely interested in horror. I guess the only issue I have with ‘Paranormal Activity’ is people’s reaction to the hype that surrounds it.

     Yes, I understand in this case the hype is actually positive for such a low-budget film. It’s already raking in million’s due to its slow release/word of mouth campaign, and it will no doubt bring in an impressive gross due to Halloween fast approaching. This no doubt rewards the filmmakers with great opportunities for future projects, as well as a few lucky studio execs will have fresh hookers to do coke off. It’s the little things in life, right? Regardless of this career advancement and support for the economy via the world’s oldest profession, we are still left with one of the most annoying things in life due to this hype…impressionable people.

     We all know the type. I refer to them as “parrots” myself. They randomly repeat things they’ve heard via television, radio, conversation, text message, ventriloquist dummy, etc. without any critical thinking on their part. These are the same people responsible for sending you a barrage of emails about a little girl who has cancer and needs your used gum for her treatment regime, or believe if you don’t forward their chain text to 10 others your dog will die of gonorrhea, and probably own every product Billy May’s sold on TV (Slap Chop….you will be mine). These are the people that will be annoying the shit out of you about ‘Paranormal Activity’ for the next few weeks.

Example annoying conversation:

Parrot: Hey, have you seen Paranormal activity???

You: No, I heard it got good reviews though.

Parrot: It was terrifying!!! They said it’s the new Blair Witch. You need to see it!!! Haven’t you seen the commercials???

You: Yeah, think I saw one. I’ll try and check it out when I have time.

Parrot: You should make time!!! A few people in my theater screamed and dropped their popcorn. It was crazy!!!

You: Wow….interesting.

Parrot: Not interesting, it was horrible!!! I felt terror in that theater!!! Didn’t you see the commercials with people jumping around all crazy??? It was like that…but worse!!! I was texting people while I was in the theater to tell them how scared I was!!!

You: (Fakes an important phone call and walks away)

     Believe me…you will have the above conversation at least once within the next few weeks. As for myself, I now have first-hand experience witnessing this over-reaction to the film. When the credits to the film rolled I looked over to my fellow horror aficionado cousin and said “It was pretty good”, he nodded and we got up to leave. Right on queue a woman behind us proclaimed loudly “That was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life”(note: this woman has never been to Wal-Mart on the 1st or 15th). Once she made that statement, it was like witnessing the floodgates. Right on queue everyone else in the theater started repeating likewise, as if it was a badge of honor.

     We initially laughed these bold statements off, but as we approached the exit to the lobby we ran into a few disgusted looking ushers. One kept repeating “Please watch your step, someone threw up out here”, while another mustered strength to try and clean the brown guck up. Yes, someone actually got themselves so worked up in the theater they actually threw up on the way out. Leaving the theater we both laughed about the insanity of that incident, but also realized that vomit probably just sold a few more movie tickets as the Parrot’s leaving will be telling that tale to anyone willing to listen over the next few weeks. Just as I’m repeating the tale to you myself….SHIT!!