Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MAY-DE TO BE MOCKED - Paranormal Entity (2009)

 Note: Throughout the month of May I will be watching Mockbusters, those low-budget movies which are made purely to cash in on a recent successful blockbuster. I call this May-de to be Mocked! 

Paranormal Entity (2009)
Director: Shane Van Dyke
Starring: Erin Marie Hogan, Fia Perera, Norman Saleet, Shane Van Dyke
Format: AVI

Plot: A family is apparently being visited by the spirit of their dead dad/husband. But things start going bad, so they set up cameras throughout the house to find out exactly what's up.

Normally when I list the cast of a movie, I pick out the three or four main actors. But that list that you see above? That's the whole cast. Four people. Total. And one of them (Saleet) only shows up briefly towards the end and Van Dyke never shows his face.

So yeah, minimalist is the key word here. But when you're aping the Paranormal Activity phenomena, that's to be expected I guess. I couldn't find the budget for this movie (produced by mockbuster specialists The Asylum) but it can't have been any more than about $100,000. Four actors. One of those actors is the director/writer. No special effects. Shot on handicams in a house. Hell, maybe $100,000 is being generous. $50,000?

I should add that I'm an unashamed Found Footage apologist. I like found footage movies. Starting with Blair Witch Project (which blew me away when I first saw it), continuing through all the hundreds of imitators, I enjoy them.

So, the found footage gimmick isn't the reason I didn't enjoy this one very much. Whereas Paranormal Activity and its first sequel (parts 3 and 4 are best not mentioned) do a great job with a good, slow build, this mockbuster doesn't show that same patience. It tries to show things too early, and in doing so fails to build up any real suspense.

The acting is passable (Hogan is the standout as the sister/daughter/main victim). One major difference from Paranormal Activity is this movie doesn't shy away from nudity and swearing. I guess that's something.

The other major problem is that I watched this after already having seen the first 4 Paranormal Activity movies, and by now the whole concept has passed its used by date. I wouldn't say I disliked this movie - it kept me entertained for the most part - but it felt exactly like what it is, a low-budget imitation.

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