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Woo in Review: Paranormal Activity PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

Oren Peli, formerly a video game designer, launched his film career with the recently-premiered horror movie Paranormal Activity, which he both wrote and directed. Not that you would have any clue who Oren Peli was if you had seen the movie - not even if you sat through the credits - mostly because there are no credits. I know this because I sat in the theater waiting for the credits to come up until every other person in attendance had wandered out. I waited until the projector stopped running and the lights came up. I waited because I refused to believe that a film could be so completely dishonest.

Because of Paranormal Activity's dishonesty, you also wouldn't know that the film starred actors Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat. You wouldn't know that the film was shot over seven consecutive days in a home that Peli purchased that has no record of paranormal activity. Peli doesn't want you to know that by seeing the movie, which appears to be composed entirely of found footage given to filmmakers by a local police department (according to a caption at the beginning of the film).

But, let me back up for a moment and let you know - Paranormal Activity is a massive waste of time, even ignoring its deception. The film documents the trials of a couple, Katie and Micah, and their difficulties with a demon that has been following Katie since she was a child. They call in a psychic, who apparently has a PhD in something since they refer to him as ‘Doctor'. They think about calling a demonologist. They play with a Ouija board against advisement.

During the day, nothing much happens aside from Katie's whining. At night, though, the demonic forces come out to play and do crazy, crazy things. Things like making bumping sounds that are eerily similar to the sound of a train going past. Things like opening doors. I know, terrifying, right? And these things happen once per night - and the film is strung out over many, many days. Which means that the payoff at the end of each day of sitting through yet another scene where Katie whines and then says something so ridiculous about the paranormal that you'd think she had a direct line into Woo-Woo Crazyland, is miniscule. It's a door opening. It's nothing.

The film may have taken only seven consecutive days to film, but it feels like watching it takes fifty.

But the real problem here is not the plot, which is nonexistent, or the writing, which I'm pretty sure actually was nonexistent. The problem is that the film is cashing in on the appearance of being a true documentary. It's cashing in the way The Blair Witch Project did, except The Blair Witch Project wasn't dishonest.

Compare these two movie posters, one from Paranormal Activity, and one from The Blair Witch Project.

Paranormal Activity's movie poster has no credits - just like the end of the movie had no credits. The Blair Witch Project, on the other hand, rightly points out that it's not true by listing the actors, the director, and the producer, amongst others.

Is it any wonder that hardcore believer Steven Spielberg had his hands in this?

Spielberg was given a DVD screener of the film Paranormal Activity just after it was created, and, according to sources, brought it back to the studio in a trash bag the next day because it was ‘haunted'. Why ghosts can't travel through trash bags remains unknown.

The film was altered (the theatrical ending is different from the original), and re-released by Dreamworks and Paramount with the help of Spielberg, which is why you can now see it in theaters everywhere (though I hope you don't).

I've never recommended boycotting a movie, a book, or a piece of music based on the belief system it represented. But I would love it if we all boycotted Paranormal Activity. Not because it's phenomenally bad, though I feel better that it is since you won't be missing much, but because its intent and its success have both feet firmly planted in deceit.

As I left the theater, all the people who left before me milled around outside the doors, talking to one another in loud voices about their belief that the footage was real. They shared their own paranormal experiences. They had a grand discussion about ghosts.

And I wondered, as I often do, why we, the public, keep allowing ourselves to be defrauded to line someone else's pockets.

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Odd...
written by outsorcerer, October 23, 2009
I thought everyone knew the movie was a work of pure fiction...

If it were real, why would the footage be in a movie theater, and not being dissected by every member of the scientific available? Wouldn't "real" footage be at least the top news story of the day?

What people are dumb enough to believe that anything they see in a movie theater is real?
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Wont Even Bother Watching on DVD
written by Josh111485, October 23, 2009
The http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_UxLEqd074 trailer for this sorry excuse of a movie is partly people reacting to it. Could this be a case of confirmation bias? They just focused on the people that had the biggest reactions and ignored everyone else. I wont even borrow this from the library when it comes to DVD. I could get it for free and I wont even bother. As for the actual footage of the "movie" I kept thinking how they were using their trickery to make people believe those things were being caused by ghosts. People who have seen it keep telling me that it states very clearly during the "movie", "based on actual events". Do they claim that in the "movie"? They're using actors in the "movie". If anything, this is just a reenactment of different footage that we're not even going to see. What gyp!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...ourth Kind is coming out soon and it's the same kind of "based on actual events" crap. It says "based on actual case studies". What case studies? It's just people on camera freaking out! It seems to be about alien abduction and there was a part talking about ancient astronauts. When is this crap going to stop? I guess if there's money to made, and a gullible public, there will always be crap like this.
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written by outsorcerer, October 23, 2009
Reading this interview with director Peli made me snicker... http://www.shocktillyoudrop.co...hp?id=5123

I especially love the quote "...From my research, I learned the more violent entities are demonic. We wanted to be as truthful as we could be."

The truth would be that there is not even one single shred of proof concerning the reality of hauntings or demons, Mr. Peli. If you had some you could apply for the MDC, though I guess it's easier to just make fictional movies about the subject to cash in on....
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written by fluffy, October 23, 2009
Blair Witch actually was pretty dishonest before it came out - the media hype was all presenting it as if it was real found footage, and they had various "documentaries" about the "discovery" of it on various TV networks (mostly Sci-Fi Channel, which has always had an undercurrent of "we know our name means science fiction but we'll pretend that this non-science is non-fiction anyway"), and the major appeal to it was supposed to be that it was real.

Of course, it was pretty transparent, but that didn't stop some people from thinking it was real when they saw it in theaters anyway, even WITH the end credits.

I just see this as more of the same crap.
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written by fluffy, October 23, 2009
http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ghosts/blair.asp
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written by CasaRojo, October 24, 2009
There's a tremendous amount of dishonesty in practically everything that is marketed in our society. My hope is that people will openly speak out as loudly as they can against any and all that they they encounter.
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written by AlmightyBob, October 24, 2009
Granting I'm on weak ground here (I've not seen the movie, and haven't heard all that much about it)...

However, I've never heard ANY suggestion of it's claiming to be factual. The only claims I heard were that it was supposed to be a REEEELY SCARY MOVIE.

Am I wrong here? Were the makers/distributers making a documentary claim, and/or does anybody accept this?

That point aside, the rest of Alison's commentary was pretty much irrelevant and pointless. Yes, "believers" do lots of silly things in the movies (and believers in real life do lots of silly things.) And ok, she didn't like it anyway. But whether director Peli, Spielberg or anybody else involved are "believers" is utterly irrelevant.
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written by Cethis, October 24, 2009
I have yet to see a review or comment claiming that that Paranormal Activity is a documentary.

Now, The Fourth Kind, is being presented as based on a true story that supposedly proves Alaska is being invaded by aliens. If you have to boycott a film, that seems like the one to boycott. At the very least, the JREF should expose the hoax behind it. Apparently the psychologist who allegedly did this study is someone who has never published a paper, and no other psychologists in Alaska have ever heard of her.
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written by tctheunbeliever, October 24, 2009
"The da Vinci Code" was clearly represented as fiction but a lot of people seem to believe in its claims, and I'm sure "2012" will be the same, but I agree that the blatant deception in this case is wrong. If people come out of the movie claiming that the footage is real, I'd say that means that they are accepting the documentary claim.

And whether or not the creators are "believers"? I'm no lawyer, but I'd say that goes to motive.
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Alternate Reality
written by idmillington, October 24, 2009
So is it just me, I feel like I've stepped through some kind of wardrobe into an alternate reality. One where a poster at the JREF blog is, apparently without irony, telling people to boycot a piece of fiction because it messes with the format and uses every trick it can to improve the suspension of disbelief. And because, maybe, the director is a true believer (although reading interviews with him, I suspect he's actually a pretty good publicist and is, once again, answering in ways that further suspend disbelief).

PA is actually a pretty interesting film if you know anything about film. It uses techniques that, although they have been done before, haven't been used to as good an effect.

And... wait I'd forgotten what I was commenting on.

It is fiction, people, fiction.

What a crappy day for skepticism. Seriously at least I expect this kind of idiocy from the boycott-Harry-potter-it-teaches-witchcraft-branch-of-Christianity. But skeptics seriously encouraging other freethinkers to boycott a film because it depicts the paranormal as if it were real.

Seriously, grow up.
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written by kenhamer, October 24, 2009
Now, The Fourth Kind, is being presented as based on a true story that supposedly proves Alaska is being invaded by aliens.


Sarah Palin.


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It's FICTION!
written by Skeptico, October 24, 2009
I agree with idmillington - it's a work of fiction. Seriously, who doesn't know that?

Grow up.
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Yeah, but...
written by Kuroyume, October 24, 2009
We know that but you can't assume that this generalization extends to everyone else.

How many people know that god, angels, demons exist and that JC, as depicted in the NT, did, said, and was exactly what the NT says? Seems to be quite a few, unfortunately.

I do agree with your final statement. smilies/smiley.gif
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written by asmith, October 24, 2009
And psychic readings are for entertainment purposes...

Will we be issuing free passes to the psychics as well?
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written by idmillington, October 24, 2009
Really Alison, it is fiction. It is a movie. The film industry has a long history of putting 'based on a true story' in front of movies that are not. The Mockumentary is a well loved cinematic trope, like the fictionary diary, or the novel itself. It isn't deceit, it is *fiction*. It is a technique to enhance the suspension of disbelief.

If someone went to see PA and thought it was a documentary, then they've got a more fundamental problem than belief in the paranormal - they have a serious misunderstanding of social and cultural norms.

That's no more the fault of the directory than it is the fault of maker of an R rated film if it terrorizes a 6 year old.

A skeptic's job is to help people tell the real world from fantasies. Not to condemn fantasies for being more than averagely effective.

I think you need to get a sense of proportion.
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written by idmillington, October 24, 2009
* fictionary - the new game from MB - get it now for Christmas smilies/smiley.gif
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written by Kuroyume, October 24, 2009
If someone went to see PA and thought it was a documentary, then they've got a more fundamental problem than belief in the paranormal - they have a serious misunderstanding of social and cultural norms.


Yes, there are people of this dismal level of idiocy. smilies/wink.gif

A skeptic's job is to help people tell the real world from fantasies.


Exactly. And this film is supposedly being implicitly tauted as something based upon actual events though it isn't being explicity done (as in "Based upon actual events" or similar).

If you think people are really smart, then go here: http://answers.yahoo.com/quest...104AAPOGDg (or do a Google of "Paranormal Activity fact fiction").

People are very gullible.
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written by One Skunk Todd, October 24, 2009
I wonder how many people will still believe it's real after the DVD is released with alternate endings. smilies/smiley.gif
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Poor Alison
written by Son of Rea, October 24, 2009
She's the only writer that I see getting rudely ridiculed on a fairly regular basis. Honestly, I don't understand the malice. If you don't like something that is posted, just move on...or at least be polite in posting your disagreement. Why make it a point to insult someone you disagree with?
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written by MadScientist, October 24, 2009
Here's a hint: if people don't want to appear in the credits, they don't want to be associated with the movie (but perhaps desperately need the money). You'll even notice that sort of thing in movies from 40 years ago where credits were already de rigeur; some not entirely obscure actors playing supporting roles (not mere bit parts) won't appear in the credits - and it's not because it is assumed that everyone knows who they are. Of course sometimes actors make such appearances as something of a favor to a buddy and not being credited has to do more with film politics. Now when no one wants to be associated with the film, you just know it's got to suck.
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written by poobah103, October 24, 2009
I disagree entirely with the idea of a "boycott" of this movie. I haven't seen it, so I don't know if this is actually as a bad a film as you describe, but I really don't think this is a sneak attack on mainstream America to trick people into believing in ghosts. Like many of the other comments, I haven't seen anything in any of the previews or articles about this movie that implied anything about it being "true", or even "based on a true story". Information on the movies and its producers is a few clicks away on the internet for anyone who cares to look, but the way you're describing it's marketing makes it sound like a conspiracy with the intent to trick people into believing in ghosts.

I know lots of incredibly credulous (get it?) people who understand that "Paranormal Activity" is just a movie; I just don't think this movie represents any danger or can be accused of willfully spreading lies and misinformation. I'm confident that we can trust the average person to reach the extremely obvious conclusion that this is a work of fiction.
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written by Rrose Selavy, October 24, 2009
Compare these two movie posters, one from Paranormal Activity, and one from The Blair Witch Project.

Paranormal Activity's movie poster has no credits - just like the end of the movie had no credits. The Blair Witch Project, on the other hand, rightly points out that it's not true by listing the actors, the director, and the producer, amongst others.


Erm... I think the clue is in the word "movie" in the quoted review and the website.
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written by TDjazz, October 24, 2009
I agree with the other posters saying PA is just fiction, regardless of how many woo-woos think it's real; they'll always think that way about such movies, TV shows, etc., dealing with woo-woo--that's how they are.

I haven't seen PA yet, and I am hoping it's scary--I do love a good ghost story. I can suspend disbelief when seeing films, especially when they're well-made.
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Where from Alison??
written by SCD, October 24, 2009
Thanks for your article Alison.
Somewhat disappointed to read the comments on Spielberg (that some websites have expanded on)

"...hardcore believer Steven Spielberg..." and his "haunted" comment and actions (trash bag).
It seems some websites have expanded on this and have probably been spun and fueled by the Dreamworks and Paramount machine.

I have been "shamelessly" using one of Steven Spielberg's quotes for years in a semi-off-the-cuff comment in regards to UFO sightings. He made this comment a few years back - well before video phones became hugely popular as they are today:

"There are millions of video cameras out there and they're picking up less videos of UFOs, alleged UFOs, than we picked up in the 1970s and 1980s."

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About "Poor Alison"
written by Realitysage, October 24, 2009
"Why make it a point to insult someone you disagree with?"....

Agreed.
When you resort to insolence and name calling you generally lose an argument by default.
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written by Steel Rat, October 24, 2009
Remember Fargo? Purported to be based on a true story, when in fact it was a total fabrication. The Cohen brothers admitted it later, and just used the "true story" banner to sell tickets.

I've seen ads for PA which say something to the effect "The best evidence to date..." That tells me they think it's at least documentaryish, or want viewers to think so. It is dishonest, to say the least. But calling for boycotts usually has the opposite of the desired effect.
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"What people are dumb enough to believe that anything they see in a movie theater is real? "
written by Brookston John, October 25, 2009
Look around you next time you're out in public and you're amongst people you don't know.

Unless you're at TAM...
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True account of what happened at the Spielberg home....
written by Careyp74, October 25, 2009
Spielberg watched the movie, pulled it off of his projector, and threw it across the room. The execs called to have him return it, and he told them it was in the trash. They then told him he still needed to return it, so he grabbed the trash bag and headed down to the office. They said "What the hell, man. Why did you do that?"
and Steve replied "this movie is a piece of crap, scrap the whole thing." But the execs already put a lot of money into it, so asked Steven if there is anything that can be done with it. "Well," said Steve, "first we have to exorcise the stupidity out of it."
At that the execs told their bosses that Steve thought it was haunted. The execs went back to Steve and said "Can you help fix all the problems?"
To which Steve agreed, and spent a lot of time trying to make it better. He eventually gave up, and handed everything he did to the movie back to the execs.

Although this may not be an actual account of what happened, the title of this post is using the PA definition of the word 'true' in it.
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Oh, Come On
written by Liveliest Crib, October 25, 2009
I have to echo the sentiments of posters before me who think Paranormal Activity's marketing gimmick isn't that big a deal. It's lack of credits is an artistic choice to add to the sense of verisimilitude, but it's not completely dishonest. The words at the end explain clearly that it's a work of fiction (in the standard languages no one reads in other movies because they're buried at the end of lengthy credits).

I liked it for what it was. A feature-length YouTube clip. Silly fun. Not quite as frightening as it's hyped to be, and hardly brilliant, but interesting in its style. It's makers are not genuinely claiming to have captured demons on camera.

You wanna see boycott a film that really does proselytize to its audience and demand that its ghost story be believed? Try [a rel="nofollow" href="http://karencatures.blogspot.com/2009/05/movie-reviews.html">]The Haunting in Connecticut[/a].
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Being touted as real?
written by RichVR, October 25, 2009
Really?

http://tinyurl.com/yhslbsq
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written by idmillington, October 25, 2009
"She's the only writer that I see getting rudely ridiculed on a fairly regular basis."

Well, I've never rudely ridiculed her before. I found what she said ridiculous. But my first post was unnecessarily rude. If it happens by multiple people on a regular basis, then it is unlikely to be random. Maybe she just says more ridiculous things that other posters? Maybe she subliminally programs readers to enable latent tribal aggression memories?

--

I'm disturbed, I think, by what I see as the condescending tone. It feels to me like the respondents are split between those who appear to be saying something like:

"People are dumb - they may get confused - it is our job to try to stop that."

And those that say

"It isn't hard to understand, we should help people to understand, but let it stand."

There's a key difference - do you try to shut down the source, or do you try to raise the level of societal critical thinking.

My understanding of skepticism is the latter. I have *no* interest at all trying to stop pscyhics from practicing, for example. But I'd love it if we helped our culture understand that it was just made up. I'm sure some people believe that magic is real (in fact I know so, I've had a conversation about David Blaine being 'the real thing' before) but I *love* magic, and I want to see it continue as a viable artform. I particularly like the stuff that has the whole ambience, the mystery, the lack of knowing wink. The stuff that leaves you doubting it was a trick, even just for a moment.

The first approach is exactly what I see in fundamentalist religion. We don't like Harry Potter, so it should not be sold in our community. We're concerned about the message on this Atheist Billboard, so get our companies to boycott the ad-company. We don't like this film featuring happy Gays, boycott it to send a message that such films shouldn't be made. Pass laws against this violent video game, prevent people blaspheming, burn the liberal books. And so on.

Maybe its the whole libertarian / liberal division in skepticism again, but the boycotting mentality just simply feels juvenile and patronizing to me. If skepticism is about anything to me, it is about Education.

We set more people floating free by raising the water level, not by carping about how shallow it is, and certainly not by protesting against the bottom.
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Anybody know what the alternate ending is?
written by Xiphos, October 25, 2009
I saw the movie, an altrnate ending couldn't be any more telegraphed then the theater ending. I had hard time being able to suspending my disbelief that the two characters could afford the house they lived in. It was much to nice for a couple with only one income to swing in San diego.

I struggled with the house ownership issue more then the ghiost/demon angle since neither of those two ideas are even real.
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written by monstrmac1, October 25, 2009
To call this a review is a joke. Roger Ebert writes reviews, Alison writes manifestos. For a skeptic Alison does a poor job separating fantasy from reality.
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Really?
written by Mikeheathen, October 26, 2009
This film never claimed to be a documentary. Anyone who went into this thinking it was really a documentary cut together from found footage probably also believed the same thing about a certain witch in Burkittsville, MD a decade or so ago. The style of the film was extremely effective in creating a disturbing experience for viewers, but the genre choice was not a dishonest attempt to spread woo. This article can hardly be called a review of the film at all, but rather a rant about Hollywood pushing a paranormal agenda. Since this was a super low budget indie film, that assertion hardly holds. If you want to read real reviews of the film, got to Rotten Tomatoes, which has scores of them.

I am a skeptic. I don't buy into any paranormal activity in the real world, but I am also a horror film fan and I can dig on it in my filmed entertainment. Paranormal Activity is a film that works for a number of reasons. The documentary style makes it feel like you are watching a real couple going through something strange and unusual. The POV shots force you to put yourself in their perspective, and the fact that so much footage is shot from a tripod placed in their bedroom while they are sleeping is enough to make even the most cynical skeptics think about it when they go to bed. Unless they are afraid to have fun, or take everything in life far too seriously, as Ms. Smith clearly does.

Xiphos, here is the alternate ending.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ux0VZOTLPHk I felt the theatrical one was far more effective.
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Where to start?
written by mattand, October 26, 2009
On the plus side, this is one of the better written articles Alison has submitted to randi.org.

On the minus side: I'm really not sure how it relates to skepticism. I'm trying to not to pile on, but to quote the great Joel Hodgson, "Repeat to yourself it's just a show, I should really just relax."

Honestly, Alison, your ranting over this movie just makes me want to see it. It's your opinion, but to be honest you sound a lot like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Medved when they went ballistic over "Million Dollar Baby". I had no interest in seeing that film, but I figured if it was giving those two rocket scientists apoplexy it was worth seeing. Great film, BTW.

I realize your claim to fame is (rightly) taking on TAPS, but I think your perspective is way off on this. I haven't seen the movie but all of the ads came off as "Blair Witch 2009". If you're upset that people are going to be pushed to the Woo Side after viewing PA, well, there wasn't much hope in reaching them in the first place.

You shouldn't stop writing or investigating/debunking, but you really need to pick your battles better.
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Wow.
written by ErgoWill, October 27, 2009
My wife and I both loved this movie. It's easily one of the chilling horror films that we've seen in years and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes an understated horror movie. It's amazing what they pulled off for $11,000.

That said, we never, ever for a moment ever thought that any of the film was real, and from what I could tell neither did anyone else in the audience.
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written by MandySmith24, October 27, 2009
Great, some idiot telling me which movies I should and shouldn't watch!
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written by Robert Oz, October 28, 2009
It's okay to enjoy a scary movie without having to believe that the boogie man is real. If the person next to me in the theatre believes the boogie man is real, that's their problem.
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Lighten up
written by Raindoggy, October 28, 2009
It's a horror movie. It plays on deep psychological fears and irrational beliefs to create an emotional response.

I have not heard of one person believing it to be a documentary. Blair witch pretty much ruined that whole gimmick.

Shold we see Well's War of the Worlds as "dishonest" as well? Even if it was dishonest, so was Andy Kaufman. Its a movie.

this is why skeptics get painted as party poopers all the time.
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written by crackerjack5, October 28, 2009
I'm going to go see Paranormal Activity and The Fourth kind because I love horror movies!! But nobody I know thinks they're real. Lots of movies have "based on actual events" at the front, but the only one I ever believed was Fargo (until I checked online).
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You know what really tipped me off?
written by Mstoner82, October 28, 2009
At the end where there were no credits, but for 2 minutes I had to stare at the giant white text that stated the following:

"This film is a work of fiction. Any similarities to actual events is entirely coincidental."

You waited for credits, but you didn't see that? I don't know how. It was on about 30 seconds after the movie ended.

Oh, and the Blair Witch was ENTIRELY misleading. Not only did I go through the website numerous times, but also watched the "documentaries" on television. That was the greatest marketing scheme ever. Had enough people thinking it was real to pack theatres to sold out status that weekend. I remember calling a friend after I had seen it, only to hear him tell me he had just seen the actors on Letterman. I know when I have been had, but at the same time, it just made me appreciate what they had done that much more.

Boycott the movie if you like, by all means, but don't act like this is the first one to take the marketing tactics they did. It was all about the experience. It's okay if you were scared, you wouldn't have been the first one. Don't lead an angry mob to someone's house though with false information. That's just wrong.

Watching the movie now, and there is no part in it where they decide to get a ouija board to contact anything. Micah decided to get one against the wishes of his girlfriend and the "Dr." without either of them knowing. Looks like she's not real happy about this though, so I guess that your whole spiel about them making a decision to talk to the spirit is invalid. More of a sole decision on one person's part, which only makes sense.

Sorry, but your review is full of holes and misinformation.
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On civility
written by pxatkins, October 29, 2009
Great, some idiot telling me which movies I should and shouldn't watch!


Agree, disagree, whatever. But that's just f*cking rude.
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written by MandySmith24, October 29, 2009
But I would love it if we all boycotted Paranormal Activity.

This is the part that's rude. What a waste of space this article is!
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written by Kuroyume, October 29, 2009
Shold we see Well's War of the Worlds as "dishonest" as well?

First, it is [Orson] Welles. H.G. Wells wrote the book. Orson Welles directed and narrated the radio broadcast on Oct. 30, 1938. Sort of appropo since the (71st) anniversary is tomorrow. smilies/smiley.gif

While I agree that the 'format' was somewhat dishonest, there was nothing else dishonest about it. There was no 'based upon fact' and it was aired as part of a series of the "Mercury Theatre on the Air" via CBS radio. First, the correspondence of the story in the book and the retelling here should have been realized (and probably was by some). Wells' novels such as "The Time Machine", "War of the Worlds", "The Invisible Man", "The Island of Doctor Moreau" were and are rather well known. The reason for the public panic is that many people entered the broadcast already in progress not realizing (or hearing introductory information) that it was theatre. On the other hand, Welles let the cat out of the bag just in case.
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Sorry about that
written by Kuroyume, October 29, 2009
Can we please have an edit or, at the absolute minimum least, a preview before post of comments? Pretty please? smilies/smiley.gif
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written by CasaRojo, October 29, 2009
"You wanna see boycott a film that really does proselytize to its audience and demand that its ghost story be believed? Try [a rel="nofollow" rel="nofollow" href="http://karencatures.blogspot.com/2009/05/movie-reviews.html">]The Haunting in Connecticut[/a]."

Ditto. The author of the book, Ray Garton, even came out and said that he thought he'd been duped by the Warrens et al and that it was not true however, it was billed as being based on a true story.
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BTW
written by CasaRojo, October 29, 2009
The book was called 'In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting (1992)'.
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written by Steel Rat, October 29, 2009
I need to retract my first comment. I was conflating the films "Paranormal Activity" and "The Fourth Kind". The latter is the one that says "the best evidence to date" and "based on actual events".
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Sorry, Gotta Disagree
written by bethanythemartian, November 03, 2009
First off, Blaire Witch was marketed much less responsibly (or far more brilliantly, depending on your point of view- from the standpoint of film-making they made an embarrassing amount of cash). They put out mockumentaries on the Sci-Fi channel, and if you visit the website to this day it still acts like the things portrayed in the film actually happened. When you visit the paranormal activity website, it's clear that the events did not take place. The trailers do not depict the events as real, they use choice bits from the movie like every other film trailer in existence (or they show the trailer and show audiences reacting to the choice bits). Only the film itself tries to create this suspension of disbelief. If anybody left the theater and Googled the film and glanced at the website, it's clearly a fictional film.

Secondly: film specifically, and fiction in general, is a genre completely based on non-reality being passed off for real. Lovecraft wrote many of his stories as journal entries (as if they were actually happening!). Orson Welles famously scared the CRAP out of people with War of the Worlds. This film isn't trying to sell that what happened is real, it's using the idea that what happened could be real as a way to scare the ever-living out of people. It didn't do it for you, and that's the way it works. But I hang out on a website of film buffs (none of whom, btw, believe that the events depicted are remotely real) and many of them thought it was an excellent and scary movie.

You have a right to dislike the movie, and there are certainly legitimate reasons to do so. Like many good horror films, it can't possibly appeal to everyone (nothing good really can), but to act offended that a fictional film did it's best to cause a suspension of disbelief is just silly. All films do that, some just
try harder than others.
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