How to Ruin Your Own Movie: Paranormal Entity!

Okay, it’s pretty obvious that a rip-off of Paranormal Activity was going to follow the same basic structure as that film, and ruin it for the audience just as its inspiration did. Despite this truism, I can’t abide just how horribly the film botches any attempt to generate drama.

That’s the 911 call that opens the film. His family’s not dead. His sister is dead. I’m not sure why he describes it this way, and can’t offer any explanation, since, at the end of the movie, we don’t see him make this call.

Here’s the second bit of the call. I can’t stress this enough – his mother is not dead at the time this call was made. In all likelihood the voiceover was recorded at the beginning of the film, back when the mother was supposed to die on camera.

For whatever reason (likely the actress quitting the production, although that’s merely a cruel guess) the mother wasn’t available to die on camera, but the filmmakers neglected to re-record the opening scream. Or just cut out the part where he talks about his mother.

After a brief scene of the characters talking in their home’s kitchen, this card comes up:

“Last fall”? How do you know when I’m going to be watching the movie, moron? The key to verisimilitude is unnecessary detail. It doesn’t matter what month and day your fake-doc takes place. But telling us will make it feel more real.

Also, and I want to make this absolutely clear, note that the film makes abundantly clear what’s going to happen later in the movie – rape and murder, then an off-camera suicide. Theoretically the details of the deaths will be fuzzy and unclear enough that it will be plausible for the main character to have been charged with the crimes.

I know it’s difficult to explain why you’d be selling footage of real people dying, but dude – at least make an attempt. Also, and this is going to be important later, please note that the footage was ‘found in the attic’ one year later.

Let’s fast-forward to the end, since that’s what the film’s opening did, anyhow-

Note that the sister is suspended in midair, being molested by a ghost while covered in blood. Now, just a moment later:

No blood at all. Huh. That’s what I call continuity! Time for more title cards!

Yup. Elegant way to get around the loss of an actor, huh?

Because nothing honors a family’s memory like video of a topless dead woman, right? More importantly, though – why was the brother charged with a crime? He had videotaped proof that he hadn’t done anything – including the death of his sister on tape, as she was murdered while being suspended in mid-air by a ghost.

Why didn’t he mention that to the cops?

More importantly, if he was arrested on the night of the murders, and his mother killed herself in the hospital, who put all of the filmmaking equipment away in the attic? If the cops were on the scene minutes later, why wasn’t the camera that filmed the crime taken in as evidence?

Right – god-awfully written movie. I’d forgotten.

Oh, and just because I haven’t yet tired of talking about it:

That cross added one dollar to the budget. I know, because that’s what I paid for mine.


Robert said...

I really enjoy your blog posts about the movies and TV shows. I especially like your points that show either a lack of thought or commitment to making the writing or editing appropriate...I am a little scared writing this comment, actually...I don't want to embarrass myself with bad writing (actually, have you embarrass me by pointing out my bad writing...)

Anyway, I was a little put off with the typo (misspelling?) of the word "related" in the last narrative card you show...they spelled it as "realted". It jumped out at me.

Great blog posts, anyway! Thanks!

Vardulon said...

Thanks for your comment - and great catch on the typo! I was so fixated on all the other terrible things the movie did wrong that I completely missed that one.