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Archive for October, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3 Poster

“The last 15 minutes will mess you up for life” . . . or so the TV spot claims. I’d been waiting for Paranormal Activity 3 since I first got wind of it several months back. The trailers were finally released and some of the scenes looked pretty good, but when I saw the movie the biggest shock was that the majority of the scenes from the trailers weren’t even there! I don’t know if they got cut, or were just intended to be used for advertising, but if you were hoping to see kids jumping from the tops of staircases and people getting thrashed non-stop by invisible forces, prepare to be disappointed.

Some parts were probably left out for the better—the paranormal investigator, for example. We’ve seen enough of that horror cliché in other movies. And to be perfectly honest, I was glad they cut some of the thrashing scenes. Too much of that and it gets gimmicky. But there were some scenes that I was really looking forward to seeing, like the “knocking game” and the Bloody Mary ritual. In the film’s defense, the Bloody Mary scene was there, just not exactly as it was in the trailer, and as it turns out, the theatrical version ended up being the better of the two. There was also a brief shot in the previews of a house engulfed in flames. You may remember references to “the fire” in the previous films, so I figured we’d finally be given an explanation. Nope. “The fire” remains a mystery.

The story takes place over roughly a two-week period in 1988 and centralizes on the childhood haunting of sisters Katie and Kristi. What begins as seemingly harmless interactions with an imaginary friend soon escalates into a series of increasingly disturbing and violent encounters.

The movie is filmed similarly to its predecessors, using handheld cameras and tripods. But if you think watching footage resembling a security camera is boring, think again. Some cool creativity was employed that allowed a stationary camera to shoot both the foyer and kitchen by being mounted on an oscillating fan. It then pans eerily back and forth—empty kitchen . . . empty foyer . . . empty kitchen . . . not-so-empty foyer. That element was really well done and for me was one of the stand-out suspense builders.

As far as the acting goes, on the whole it was tolerable for a film that makes heavy use of improvisation. Surprisingly, the scenes that were the most intense (which I would have thought to be the most difficult) had the best acting. Apparently, what’s not so easy is realistically depicting natural, casual conversation. I remember there being one character in PA 2 whose acting bothered me throughout the entire film. Thankfully, this movie had no such characters.

I was particularly curious as to whether the writers would be able to work this film into the story as well as they did with PA 2, because although I wasn’t impressed with the fright level of the second movie, I thought it was fantastically tied into the first, especially considering that they weren’t written at the same time. Naturally, I was doubtful of their abilities to demonstrate similar writing prowess again, but sure enough, like a puzzle piece, they snapped this movie into place as smoothly as the last one. I did notice a little plot hiccup regarding mentions of the mother in the second movie, but I found it to be a very minor issue.

Of course, this movie comes complete with a few typical horror situations like skeptic vs. believer, as well as conflicts that could easily have been solved with a simple “why doesn’t he just show her the tape!” But at least it was refreshing to see a role reversal of the common skeptical male and credulous female.

I tend to judge scary movies quite harshly. While scenes designed to make you jump and scream can be fun, especially in a pitch black theatre full of people, I find such tactics to be cheap when overused. A jump scene comes and goes very quickly, and the sense of fear isn’t a lasting one. I prefer that a movie be scary as a result of the atmosphere, the events, the story. If you’re still creeped out when you leave the theatre, then the filmmakers have done a decent job. In Paranormal Activity 3 there were a lot of make-you-jump scenes, but at least they were complemented by a story that had a moderate fear factor.

I don’t think the Paranormal Activity franchise will ever really scare people who need a corporeal being—whether a monster, alien, or psychotic killer—on which to project their fear. The strength of this style of film lies with the invisibility of the villain. It causes the viewers’ imaginations to run wild which, for many people (myself included), is usually more frightening than anything that can be depicted with special effects and makeup. That said, keeping the spooky entity hidden doesn’t automatically guarantee a successful fright. Paranormal Activity 3 certainly had some creepy parts, but came far from messing me up for life.

6/10

6 on 10

 
Image: Paramount Pictures via Wikipedia
Video: Paramount Pictures via YouTube

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I’ve always liked it when people tweak their websites to the tune of approaching holidays. It’s a fun way to spice up routine web browsing. So, since there’s less than a week left before Hallowe’en, I thought I’d give my blog some seasonally fitting décor.

I admit, the main column of my blog being white takes away from the effect, but unfortunately that style isn’t in my power to change—not for free, anyway. And fret not, dear readers . . . on the first of November the standard WTP graphics will be back.

Will you be promoting Hallowe’en on your blog or website with spooky decorations, eerie editorials, or frightening fiction?

 

Resources used for decorations:

Bookie Graveyard by autumn-icestock on deviantART

Moon Clouds by Prateek Karandikar via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 3.0

Jack-o’-Lantern 2003-10-31 by Toby Ord via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 2.5

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I know that this word isn’t too unknown or uncommon, but since this is the last WW before Hallowe’en, I thought I’d make it a spooky one.

 
From Dictionary.com:

—adjective

1. gruesome and horrifying; ghastly; horrible.

2. of, pertaining to, dealing with, or representing death, especially its grimmer or uglier aspect.

3. of or suggestive of the allegorical dance of death.

Wordsmith Wednesdays made-up example sentence:

Poe specialized in macabre stories based on hauntings and live burials.

 
View this word on Dictionary.com for pronunciation and additional definitions.

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Bike Riding in Autumn

For a change, I thought I’d put some photos up. These are some shots from a ride a few weeks ago, which is why the foliage is only beginning to change. (It’s all orange now.)

 
Monarch Butterfly

Monarch sits across from a bee.

 

Monarch Butterfly

He readjusts himself.

 

Quarry

Nearby quarry.

 

Tree

Not quite ripe.

 

Cows

Moo.

 

Crab Apple

Crab apples were all over the lakeshore.

 

Gulls

A couple of Ring-billed Gulls.

 

Gulls

They proceed to make a racket.

 

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From Dictionary.com:

—adjective

1. readily fluent, often thoughtlessly, superficially, or insincerely so: a glib talker; glib answers.

2. easy or unconstrained, as actions or manners.

3. Archaic. agile; spry.

Wordsmith Wednesdays made-up example sentence:

Workers weren’t satisfied with the glib meeting held by the CEO to discuss the company’s shaky future.

 
View this word on Dictionary.com for pronunciation and additional definitions.

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I’ve added Lesson Plan to my list of recommended documentaries. It’s a very thought-provoking film in which a class of high school students is taught about fascism. Check it out if you get the chance.

 

 
Video: State of Crisis Productions via YouTube

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From Dictionary.com:

—noun

1. an interval of time between the close of a sovereign’s reign and the accession of his or her normal or legitimate successor.

2. any period during which a state has no ruler or only a temporary executive.

3. any period of freedom from the usual authority.

4. any pause or interruption in continuity.

Wordsmith Wednesdays made-up example sentence:

The school children, when provided with a substitute teacher, would take advantage of the interregnum by pulling pranks and being generally unruly.

 
View this word on Dictionary.com for pronunciation and additional definitions.

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