Paranormal Activity

I will always love the horror genre. And I say this even though I deliberately go out of my way to avoid watching horror flicks nowadays. In my younger years, I devoured horror movies like I devoured Pringles Original.

When hubby and I watched the famed “The Ring” movies (the Japanese version) in Cinemanila way before it became the famous, commercial movie that it is now — we sat way in front. While most had their eyes covered when our famous lady Sadako appears hideously from outside the TV, I was mesmerized more than anything.

Sixth Sense was okay. The Others had a fascinating theory.

I think the way I viewed horror movies changed because of the “Exorcist: Director’s Cut”. It didn’t help that we watched that late on a gloomy rainy (and stormy!) night in a cinema where the electricity suddenly went off in the middle of the movie, right after Linda Blair’s unforgettable spider walk (even writing about that damned spider walk still makes me uneasy). BBC calls this “still one of the most terrifying films.” And I can’t agree more.

For ever since then, I started becoming chicken.

Not too long after the “Exorcist” fiasco, hubby and I also watched the movie that most people I know barely even blinked: The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Most people I know said that it wasn’t scary at all. The movie was after all, made to resemble more of a courtroom drama and thriller rather than a horror movie. And I do agree. Watching the movie itself wasn’t scary nor terrifying.

It was the days that followed watching the movie that terrified me out of my wits. I couldn’t sleep for an entire week. The face of Emily Rose haunted me everytime I would close my eyes. And worse, just the thought, the possibility that something like that could happen and did happen – well, that’s frankly what freaked me out.

Monsters, goblins, ghouls, vampires and all those horrendous, physically deformed and outright terrifying creatures that go bump in the night have never really scared me. Deep inside I’ve always known that it’s unlikely to happen in this lifetime. So… creatures like Sadako, Edward Cullen, Count Dracula, and all those wall-scratching, floor-scraping, hideous hags with black, stringy hair worn over an old, lacy, antique dress — that’s pretty much nothing.

But the demon in ‘Exorcist’… the devil who possessed Emily Rose… even the unnamed and unseen demon in “The Shining“…. the things you can’t see but can hear and feel…. those can keep me up for an entire week or give me nightmares on the nights when I conk out.

That’s where I’m now filing this movie. “Paranormal Activity”. The movie which cost less than 50,000 USD but has been earning millions of dollars. Starring ordinary people; directed and produced by ordinary people. Quiet, unassuming, no frills, no fancy-schmancy lighting, acting and directing.

No goblins, ghouls and disfigured faces wearing the demonic eyes of the devil. No masturbating on a crucifix. No head twisting 360-degrees and vomiting acid, bile and slime.

If you didn’t know any better, you could actually stop and think about the possibility that’s it a true story. That was at least, what the producers had first done. So people who watched the movie without knowing that it was still mostly a work of fiction, were simply terrified out of their wits.

This is the kind of movie where while watching it, you kinda just partially hide under the blankets with the lights on (in our case we watched it in broad daylight) and your hand on the remote control. You wait for a truly terrifying scene, one that’s too scary you can’t even look at the TV set directly — but it never really comes. Not in this movie. Which is just perfect because at some point, you might start thinking – “I can’t take any more of this” cause your heart is just pounding so fast…

And finally when it ends, you just breathe a sigh of relief.

This was me yesterday afternoon. And I thought it was already over. But then when I lay down in bed at night, I could still see the house and the bedroom in my head… I can still see it now, more than 24 hours after.