Saturday, October 10, 2009

Week-end blog: The non-recurring phenomenon

I've mentioned that expression, non-recurring phenomenon before and there is an excellent example coming soon to your movie theater. That term is what is used to describe a movie that comes out of nowhere, sometimes costs very little and wipes up at the box office.  


Blair Witch Project is one of those, it cost somewhere around $25,000 (estimates vary) and ended up making $280 million.

 Another one was Open Water, the story about a scuba diving couple who were accidentally left behind in the ocean and were never rescued.  It also made a ton of money, around $53 million. It cost around $125,000 to make but they added more money when it was bought.

There is a new one coming, called Paranormal Activity, which is expected to do very well, not as much as Blair, but after two weeks of exclusive showings at a group of  university campuses it already has made over $535,000 far more than it cost.

It cost $16,000.  

Right, sixteen thousand dollars.

And it won't really open until next week when they will drop it into hundreds of theaters. The buzz word on this had been growing as their website now shows one million people who want tickets. 

What is it about? 

I saw a copy a few days ago and it's gonna be one of those movies where some love it and some hate it.  I have to admit it had some incredibly tense scenes and I even felt chills through some of it. And it can scare the hell out of some people.

What happens in the movie? 

Well, nothing really. 

Then why is it being touted as one of the scariest movies ever?  Because you don't see anything.  No torture scenes, no gruesome bodies, no special effects (well, just one, a door swings shut), no big movie stars and no monsters, vampires, zombies or psychotic killers. Just six people in the whole movie. 

Okay, I'm enjoying stretching it out. Here's what the movie is about. 

It's about a young couple who move into a new house.  But the soon-to-be wife keeps complaining about bumps and sounds in the night.  It turns out that she's been haunted by weird things all her life.  One of those things that should probably be mentioned to your about-to-be husband, you think?

So the soon-to-be husband decides to put a video camera in their bedroom and let it run all night.  Then the next day they look at the video and begin to see strange things. Like the door closing by itself.  By lights turning off and on in the hallway.  And by one particularly giant thump that even scared the hell out of me. 

But then we begin to see a slow progression as the bumps and lights seem to be building towards something that won't be very nice. 

I mentioned 6 people, One is a friend of the woman's,  there are two policemen who have a very small role, and a paranormal expert who visits them then returns to handle whatever is happening. But when he enters the house the second time wants to leave immediately as something in the house warns him that it is not safe for him to be in.  He exits hastily and leaves the couple.  Now the big question of course is: 


Because there wouldn't be a movie if they left.  What happens afterwards is pretty damn scary but again, you really don't see anything, you just hear it, except for the final scene. 

That's the movie. 

It was made in the director's house in San Diego. The actors are not anyone you'd recognize but they are actually pretty good in portraying upscale 30-somethings, they look like normal people and act like them. And the entire movie is the camera view whether it's on a tripod in the bedroom or being carried by the husband.  

Paramount had it for nearly a year and wasn't sure how to release it until internet demand began to build.  Apparently Steven Spielberg watched it in his bedroom and got spooked when the bedroom door mysteriously got locked from the outside.  So judge for yourself when it comes out. 

It is worth seeing if only to see how you can scare people without resorting to monsters and CGI. You can see a trailer on the Internet,  just google it.