Saturday, October 17, 2009

THE BIG BUZZ: A Reason To Keep The Lights On

Once again, PLANET GRIFFIN WEEKEND EDITION returns with THE BIG BUZZ, those juicy tidbits that's currently making the rounds among many a gossip circle! Today's feature focuses on the cinema phenomenon surrounding filmmaker OREN PELI and his $11,000 freak-out, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.

For those of you who have living under a rock for the last couple of months or so, this 'video documentary' of a recording haunting has gained one of the strongest buzzes in the entertainment industry, so much so that Paramount Pictures released the film to a nationwide audience yesterday after the film's website demand peaked at 1 million hits; proving that you don't need buckets of blood and gore to scare the hell outta someone.

Poor Katie and Micah, a young suburban couple who's strange encounters with 'something' lurking about their home may be more than leaking pipes and the settling of their foundation! Micah, daytrader by day, ghost hunter by night, sets up a video camera to record proof that the weird hauntings surrounding his fiance Katie may be a figment of her imagination...

... This film is a record of the frightening events that took place during the 21 days they lived in the house.

Now, as a seasoned burnout of horror flicks, I was quite surprised with this one. The genius of this film is in it's execution--- believe me, the effects alone used in the film are simple, yet terribly effective--- drawing the audience in from the first night (you can literally feel the air sucked out of the room by the audience). By the time you get to Night 21, your sphincter runs the risk of taking part of the theater chair with it. The claustrophobia that's generated by the very fact that you never leave the confines of the haunted home, Peli has already forced the audience to bond with the characters without realizing it.

What's even cooler is the fact that this flick will linger with you long after the final frame--- unlike the blood and gore elements of the horror genre, Peli believes that the feeling of dread is far more common and easy-to-relate than the sadism of a hockey masked maniac... A simplistic formula that pays off handsomely!

Amazingly, this flick has already become an industry legend... Shot in a week in 2007, the film played in various fright film festivals until a copy of the film wound up in STEVEN SPIELBERG'S hands--- it was when Spielberg found himself inexplicably locked in his bathroom after viewing it that the concept idea took on another form entirely. Paramount picked up the film to run midnight showings in 16 college towns (the sold-out, limited engagements grossed $1.2 million alone), egged on by the website's demand for wider release.

All jabbering aside, allow PLANET GRIFFIN to sum it up for you this way... PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is the kind of scary that someone can come up behind you unawares and scream "BOO!"--- the only difference is, the BOO behind you is coming from someone you don't know in your own home... With that said, start looking at your local showtimes, and then after, think twice about turning off all your lights. I do.


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