ENHANCED OR DESTROYED BY THE AUDIENCE
I’m a big fan of the Paranormal Activity franchise. If you buy into the mythology and the found footage approach, they’re a ton of fun. The original remains one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve ever had. The sold out crowd followed every beat of the film as one. Everyone jumped simultaneously and EVERYONE was quiet when the infamous ‘bedroom shot’ appeared at night. We all knew something crazy was about to happen and when it did, the energy in the room skyrocketed. It also happens to be the first movie I saw with the woman who is now my wife.
When Paranormal Activity 2 was released, we went with a group of friends on opening weekend. I was hoping for another amazing experience but sadly, a small group of idiots ruined it for us. The second the movie began these teens wouldn’t shut up. We theorized that Mommy dropped them off and they were nervous. So they… Discussed… Everything! It was the first time I ever told someone to shut up in a theater. To this day, it remains the only time I had to do something like that.
The thing is, I thought the movie was fantastic. It was a great way to continue the series. It’s just difficult to get into a movie when losers are making obvious observations behind you. Yes… We are all aware that something is going to happen. You don’t have to announce it! … And we certainly don’t need a recap afterwards.
We were cautious when Paranormal Activity 3 was released. Our second Paranormal experience left us bitter so we waited a few weeks before seeing the film. It was the only way to limit the amount of idiots we encountered. I knew the theater wouldn’t be packed and there was no chance of recapturing the magic of the first. It was disappointing but at least I could enjoy the movie in peace right? Wrong. This time, the idiots were female and they were sitting right beside us. Another Paranormal Activity experience was ruined. Shame.
After that, we vowed to wait until Paranormal Activity 4 was available to watch at home. At least it gives us an opportunity to watch the others marathon style. I just wish I was excited to line up on opening day.
Two straight experiences were ruined by inconsiderate morons who didn’t care. They’ll never know how much we were looking forward to it. How we went out to dinner and talked about the other films beforehand. How we waited for a theater with assigned seating so we could be strategic in selecting our seats. They’ll never know that they shattered the dream the original Paranormal Activity inspired years ago.
THE PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 EXPERIENCE
So… The fourth installment of the franchise is just around the corner and we have a decision to make. Do we risk sitting next to someone else who doesn’t care? Do we brave the crowd hopelessly searching for silence? Will Paranormal Activity 4 be accompanied by a crowd that WANTS to be scared?
I’m not so sure. On the other hand, it definitely won’t be the same watching it at home. However, these movies are made so you question every sound you hear in your house at night. Perhaps it will be a completely new experience watching a NEW Paranormal Activity at home. But am I really willing to wait that long?
- Amazing Packed Theater vs Intimate Screening at Home
- Risky Audience vs Longer Wait
It’s a tough call. Even if we get a good audience, the movie may not even deliver. After all, people know what to expect now. We all know the scares are coming. Perhaps that’s part of the problem. Movie fans are always searching for a perfect theatrical experience. I’ve been a part of tons of great audiences since then but the first Paranormal Activity truly memorable. I’d love experience that again. If not, I’ll keep searching. That’s the beauty of movies: