Monday, October 26, 2009

Paranormal Activity (a.k.a. "He's Just Not That Into You") - Miss War

**Contains SPOILERS**

The first half of this review tells the entire movie plot line. You've been warned.

We find ourselves in a modern townhouse in the middle of Valencia, California. The sun shines, the birds chirp. We meet a happy young couple: Katie and Micah. As the story unfolds, we learn that Katie believes there is paranormal activity going on in the house and Micah has decided to invest some good money in a high tech video camera to document the occurrences.

The activities do not seem out of the ordinary for hauntings. Katie hears footsteps and creaking sounds at night. She swears she feels something watching her, even breathing on her at times. Micah laughs it all off, only half believing her fears.

As they begin to document the nighttime occurrences, we see video footage of Katie suffering from gruesome nightmares. We see a large, dark shadow pass across the threshold to their bedroom. We see the bedroom door slam shut violently. We see a chandelier swing by itself. Finally, after Micah puts down a layer of baby powder in the hallway, we see footprints (hoofprints.)

Katie finally breaks down and tells Micah that as a child she was haunted by the same demon. She believes the demon haunts her and her alone.

During the course of this haunting, Micah shows very little sympathy. In fits of bravado he shouts macho curses at the unseen demon. He threatens to "kick the demon's ass" and puts up a fight about Katie's desire to call upon a psychic. And when she finally does, he is a total D-bag to the doc. Even against her begging him not to, he brings home a Ouija board, to disastrous consequences. His actions show that he has very little sympathy or concern for Katie's well-being. His concern is in goading the demon into some sort of Supernatural KY wrestling match. If the script had allowed for it, Micah would have made some inappropriate comments about the demon's mama.

Over the course of three weeks we see and hear the haunting escalate. Unseen things are slammed loudly into walls. The covers on their bed are pulled from them by unseen arms. Lights are turned on and off by themselves. On one particularly freaky night, we see Katie climb out of bed only to stand watch over Micah's sleeping body for an hour. She does not recall doing this.

At the climax of the haunting, we see the sheets lift over Katie's sleeping body and we see her violently yanked from the bed and dragged down the hallway. She screams for Micah who runs to pull her from the invisible arms but not before she suffers a horrendous bite mark, outlined with needle-sharp teeth marks.

Micah finally begins to take things seriously and packs the car, prepared to escape despite the psychic's warning that "It won't matter if you leave. It will follow you." He finds Katie in the hall, holding a crucifix and rocking. She tells him that everything will be ok now, and that she doesn't want to leave. But do we detect a different tone in her voice?

That night, Katie rises from the bed and stands watch over Micah again. After an hour, she turns and walks downstairs to the kitchen, where her bloodcurdling screams shake the house, waking Micah. He runs to presumably save her and suddenly, complete silence fills the house.

What happens next is horrifying and needless to say, Micah won't be starring in the sequel.


The movie is actually a delightful metaphor for bad relationships. It's very nearly a dark romantic comedy. Micah (who's name is pronounced ME-cuh) is such a narcissistic a-hole throughout the movie that he actually makes the hauntings worse. We can safely assume that in reality, he is Katie's Demon. His actions make her life harder and harder as the story goes on. And instead of taking any obviously safe options into account (Maybe call ANOTHER demonologist if the first is unavailable? Maybe don't bring the effing Ouija board into the house? Maybe be nice to the psychic who wants to help you?) he becomes obsessed with using the camera to document the hauntings, to the point that one might suspect he was goading the demon in order to capture more crazy shit on film.

It is vividly clear that Katie is a better person than Micah and that as a couple, she carries the weight of good decision making.

The fact that she becomes possessed in the end, kills him and escapes into the night, never to be seen again simply tells us that eventually she dumped his dumb ass and moved out. In doing so, she became a new person, never to be seen as her old self again.

This was the demonic version of "He's Just Not That Into You." And while I haven't slept in a week since seeing it (hell yeah it was scary!) I loved it and will use this as a training video for girls everywhere who suffer from bad relationship-itis.

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