Movies – Abnormal Hype

“Paranormal Activity” is actually a really good horror movie. It makes you care about the characters, manages to earn the characters being stupid enough to advance the plot, and uses its tiny budget and locale to the maximum effect. It freaks us out with the oldest tricks in the book.

Hey, speaking of the oldest tricks in the book, let’s talk about the “Demand It!” campaign, the one that claims this movie is only getting a wide release because one million people went to a website, clicked on a button and had to sign up for yet another fucking social network.

It’s a cute attempt to get an audience invested in a movie beyond just good reviews, but it’s also a total crock of shit. Sure, Paramount wasn’t going to open it wider. It was only the power of social media that convinced them this little movie deserved a wider release. The fact that “Activity” opened wider to 160 theaters this weekend, and it made more that $6 million, a per-screen average that utterly dwarfed “Couple’s Retreat”, had absolutely NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with that decision because Paramount hates money.

I find the pretension that this was anything other than an attempt to launch DemandIt to be annoying and selling the filmmakers short. “Paranormal Activity” already has a great story. We nearly didn’t see this movie, as Paramount had bought it and was trying to remake it before a screening of the original was held and Paramount realized a remake was a waste of money when they had a cheap cash cow sitting right there. Admittedly, when Steven Spielberg insists the DVD he got was haunted and brings it back in a trash can, that really should have been a big hint, but this is the marketing department we’re talking about here.

Basically, “Paranormal Activity” is one of those rare cases of a movie that really is what people says it is, and spread through word of mouth. Why cheapen that? Because social networking is trendy? Because the studios fear that the movie will get overhyped (which is a distinct possibility)?

Either way, go see “Paranormal Activity”; it’s a blast. But ignore the “demands”; the only way you as an audience member can help this movie is by showing up and buying a ticket. Do so, with all due speed.

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