It’s a battle of the paranormal this week as we take a look at the two new DVD apparitions that have been released; the enormously popular Paranormal Activity and the enormously unknown Paranormal Entity.
Hey, do you like The Blair Witch Project? Now just imagine that film, but set in a house. There – you now have Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Entity. Both involve people grabbing their own cameras and recording the night time habits of pesky poltergeists.
Many looked on enviously at Paranormal Activity; with a central premise so simple, bold and darn brilliant, it turned out to be one of the best horror films in some time. Some of those green-faced auteurs clearly work for The Aslyum – the ‘mockbuster’ company whose illustrious back catalogue has appealed to many the ignoramus. Who can not forget such classics as The Da Vinci Treasure or Transmorphers: Fall of Man? Yet, with Paranormal Entity, this may genuinely be the first time that one of their productions cost more than the original that they are ripping-off, paying homage to, ripping-off.
Activity has couple Katie and Micah take a camera into the bedroom to see what type of night time activity seems to be keeping them awake (see the inevitable porn version, Sexual Activity here). It’s a slow-burner, but the ample tension really does make you squirm in your seat, making the scares more affective.
Like the Blair Witch before it, it really does leave your imagination to do all of the scary work. When the camera lingers in the bedroom at night, you’ll find yourself leaning forward curious as to shadows in the distance, while equally being truly terrified about what is about to occur.
Entity on the other hand has a brother, sister and their mother, set-up cameras all over their house trying to catch a glimpse at whatever is going bump in the night. It’s less subtle, and by less subtle we mean they just scream very loudly a lot. A LOT. It also contains an gratuitous amount of nudity from the lead female.
It actually becomes quite an embarrassing experience, with little tension and the use of load noises relied on too much. The use of multiple cameras here is actually a detriment, proving to be far less affective than the one camera in Activity. The dialogue is pretty woeful, which is another weird result, considering this film would have had a script and a paid cast, unlike Activity. You’re not sure who is more ashamed, the person who mistakenly bought this title or the actors participating.
It’s hard to further delve into the story without giving too much away, but the naturalistic style from Activity is incredibly impressive for a first-time director and likewise from a cast who improvise most of the dialogue. This is a film that will keep you hooked all the way until its shock finale (a climax written by Mr. Spielberg).
Entity is an empty shell of Activity. It contains many of the same ingredients, and some of the atmosphere and scenes featured are still tense. But it feels more like an amateur attempt at replicating something that was distinct for its amateur feel in the first place.
Comparing the two films is like putting Coca-Cola up against Tesco Value. You know it’s basically the same thing and it sort of tastes the same, but Value has an annoying habit of screaming all the fucking time.
Paranormal Activity: 4/5
Paranormal Entity: 2/5