By now you probably know all about the new thriller Paranormal Activity and how it’s seeking to become the ‘first ever major film release decided by you’ as the site points out. If it gets a million votes through the film’s website, Paramount will release the movie in far more theaters than what is planned right now. That’s great news for horror fans because for the first time we’re getting to decide what we want to see. There could be a real future in this sort of democratic film releasing and judging by the popularity of the phrase ‘paranormal activity’ on Google and Twitter right now, the people are indeed exercising their power to voice their vote for this spooky film.
As of this article’s writing, the movie has just surpassed 546,000 votes and seems to be increasing by a handful of votes every few seconds. That means it’s halfway to the million fan mark and that number alone will carry a lot of weight with theater owners who can sometimes be less inclined to show scare flicks even during October – the peak season for horror. As a genre, horror is not always an audience favorite, but Paranormal Activity’s easily accessible style of home-shot video footage does appear to be quite a winner. The popularity of the similarly marketed Blair Witch Project bodes good things for this picture and when you add to this the fact that Stephen Spielberg himself has been said to claim that his review copy of the DVD was haunted enough to lock a room in his house shut from the inside, well, this is the stuff urban legends are made of.
Beyond the hype, though, at an even higher level Paranormal Activity is signaling a potential change for more than just the Hollywood horror movie makers. The fact that director Oren Peli comes from the video game industry (as does the often despised Uwe Boll of Blood Rayne fame) points to a potential shifting of values for the film industry, but even more so is the fact that Peli shot this entire film on a ludicrously low budget of $11,000. As the economic woes of our current recession compress budgets across all industries, the film industry is eyeing Paranormal Activity as a potential trend setter proving that audiences are willing to appreciate lower budget pictures that utilize a unique idea to entertain them. Or frighten them, in this case.
Whether or not Paranormal Activity ends up giving millions around the globe nightmares remains to be seen, but the mere fact that it has made it this far really does indicate that we may be seeing more creepily shot horror flicks that mix reality with the supernatural and that is something that many horror fans are going to love. You can’t go wrong by getting people to be scared of the very things and environments they encounter every day because that’s the nature of the horror genre in a nut shell – making the mundane terrifying.
So here’s to Paramount Pictures for being willing to let us web surfing, Twittering horror fans have our own say about their newest release. May we rise up and show the frightening force of our fanbase.
Oh, and as of the end of this article’s writing there are now nearly 548,000 votes. Don’t forget to make sure that your vote gets counted, too!