Movies to Throw Up To, Part 1: Paranormal Activity
Note: This post contains big spoilers for a movie that you probably shouldn’t want to see anyway.
Nobody caters to the easily nauseated. Here at XXBlaze, I like to pride myself at catering to really unpopular abnormalities. Being about as abnormal and unfit for civilized society as I unwillingly can seems to be my niche. According to the powers that be, there really isn’t a bigger crime against nature than being a educated opinionated fat gay woman.
So right here, I’m declaring a new series. I’ll call it, “Movies to Throw Up To”. I figure with the popularity of playlists such as “Songs to Have Heterosexual Church-Sanctioned Sex To” and “Songs to Get in Shape So as to be Suitably Fuckable To”, I might ride their coattails a little. In the name of feminism, squeamishness, and informing the public of what to avoid, you understand.
Right, so Movies to Throw Up To. First up is the movie I reluctantly saw this Halloween: Paranormal Activity. When it comes to riding coattails, this flick has got it in the bag. Cashing in on the popularity of other really fucking stupid movies like Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity captures suspense with a camera technique I’d like to call “I paid $10 to see a movie costing a more money than I’ll ever see that looks like it was shot by a $50 camera attached to a run-away washer”.
In other words, the movie is much more likely to make you physically sick than to scare you.
So like Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity required that I take several short breaks in the middle of the film to step out into the hall. Not because it was too scary or intense, you understand, but because I was really fucking nauseous and had to go learn over a trash can until I figured I was fine enough to return to indulging my masochistic taste in cinema.
But unlike Cloverfield, I actually made it through the entire movie. I really wish I hadn’t.
Paranormal Activity reminds me of being eight years old at a slumber party and telling creepy stories to friends to see who would get more freaked out. We’d sit around in our Barbie sleeping bags and tell stories about white vans and creepy coincidences. Funny enough, all those stories were total bullshit and the product of sugar binges and reading too much Goosebumps. We were all more frightened of a totally innocent white van parked by a telephone pole than we were of the dude that showed us his penis in the public library.
Being a big girl now, I’m a bit more concerned with 40-year old sex offenders than demons and ghosts. I wish I could say that the rest of the world shares my good sense of priorities, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Thus, the thriving popularity of movies like Paranormal Activity: movies that don’t scare you once you grow the fuck up and figure out that demons are the dudes who run the fucking world or who fly under the radar because the people they hurt are just blamed for being victimized.
Which brings me to my next point: that douche Micah, Kate’s, the protagonist’s, boyfriend.
The scariest part of the movie, aside from how close I got to throwing up the chili I had for dinner, was how much of an unsympathetic misogynist asshole Katie’s live-in boyfriend is. She tells him to stop doing something, he does it anyway. She pleads with him to do things her way, and he blows her off. She tells him to turn off the camera when, he keeps it on. He even tries to keep it on while they have sex.
Katie quickly figures out, however, that the demon that has been haunting her since she was eight is angered by a dude stepping in on his territory. Because, ya know, women are totally the property of whatever paranormal shit is out there or a dude. Match-up: Demon From Hell versus Misogynistic Boyfriend. Who will win the ownership of a vagina? Very original. My third favorite part is when Micah gets pissed off at the demon and starts yelling about “his house” and “his girlfriend” and how he’s “going to take care of it”. Yeah dude, you’re going kick the ass of something that doesn’t have a corporeal form. Good luck with that.
Obviously, everything that Micah does to “take care of it” pisses the demon off. Katie doesn’t want him to do it, he does it anyways, the demon gets angry and does more crazy shit when they sleep. There, I just ruined the plot of the whole movie. You’re welcome.
Coming in a close second for my favorite scene is when Micah gets pissed off (good acting dude: varying between ineffectual pissed off he-man and dismissive surly ineffectual he-man for two hours) at Katie because she tells him that she’s really mad at him for getting an Ouiji board, after everyone told him not too and he promised Katie that he wouldn’t, that she needs to “go upstairs and hang out with her demon boyfriend”. Silly bitches, putting their needs and safety above listening to the Man of the House. They should just go upstairs and hang with the demon that wants to kill them, if they’re going to be uppity like that and think that they know better about how to deal with the shit that haunted them for like, most of their lives.
So Katie goes upstairs and slams the door. The camera shuts off, then turns on again to a scene of Micah holding Katie on the floor of the upstairs hall while she cries and tells him she’s sorry. He replies, “it’s not your fault”. Which, funny enough, it isn’t. See, the demon has been haunting Katie since she was eight. It even burnt down her childhood home. This demon is Serious Business. All the demon did, until Micah got his camera, against her wishes, and put powder on the floor to track its footprints, against her wishes, and trying to contact it with an Ouiji board, against her wishes, is burn down a house and breathe on her while she slept. Creepy dangerous shit, you understand, but not anything close to what it’s been doing now. Probably because Micah thinks that his pride and chest-beating he-man antics are more important than not pissing off the thing that you can’t hurt but has really evil intentions towards someone you supposedly love. To get back at Katie for involving her boyfriend, the demon basically does creepy shit every single night instead of just sometimes, which escalates to leaving supposedly irretrievable mementos from her childhood burnt-down home around her house and dragging her down the hall while she sleeps and biting her.
Instead of this being a good indication that Micah really ought to listen to his girlfriend and stop doing shit she knows will piss the demon off, he gets it into his head that’s it’s a good idea for him and Katie to leave the house. Even though the medium (whom he predictably thinks is a quack), Katie, and her best friend all told him that the demon will just follow and get more pissed off. Just like it has been following her since she was little. Micah doesn’t listen though, because he’s smarter than the quack physic and all those silly bitches with their vaginas. He packs up, and prepares to leave the next day when Katie stops protesting.
And here comes my favorite part of the movie: the end. I loved the end because I got to stop watching the totally asinine antics of the Man Who Hasn’t Got a Fucking Clue through the lens of a camera attached to some sadistic machine hell-bent on making me as motion sick as possible.
Additionally, the end was sweet because Micah finally shuts the fuck up. Yep, the Demon From Hell figures that Micah has stepped in on his territory for the last time. As they sleep, it possesses Katie, makes her stand over her boyfriend and watch him as he sleeps for three hours, then walks her down the hall, down the stairs, and makes her scream for her boyfriend.
Micah, like a fucking champ, wakes from a dead sleep with an instant woody at the idea of saving his damsel, vaults over the bed, and runs down the stairs. There’s a bunch of screaming, and then silence. Then, in the only part of the movie that made me jump, something is thrown at the camera, knocking it off the tripod.
That something is Micah’s lifeless body. Fuck yeah. And then Katie just kinda stands there, with her blood-stained pajamas, walks over and calmly smells him. Apparently being possessed by a demon makes the boyfriend you just killed smell good. Okay. Then she makes the patented creepy horror face, lunges at the camera, and everything goes dark.
So I stumble out of the theater, glad to be able to stand outside in the cold night air and let the combined motion sickness and the nausea of the totally asinine acting and plot fade. Just for an idea of how dumb the plot was, I spent at least 80% of the movie with my eyes closed trying not to throw up, and an additional 10% outside the theater and I didn’t miss a goddamned thing.
After returning home, I figure that I’m going to do this post. I sit down to do it, but as I start to type the first part of it, I am totally stumped on how to spell “Micah”. So I pull up IMDB and look it up.
What really killed me, and just hit home how much I fucking hate this movie, is that the most discussed thing in the movie’s forums was not the shitty camera angles. It wasn’t what a big stupid douche Micah is. It wasn’t that I was exchanged $10 for a ticket and an assumption of being entertained and got ripped off.
Nope, it was how “fat” the actress who played Katie was. Yep, the woman who walked around in barely-there pajamas for most of the movie, with nary a love handle or Buddha belly in sight, is a fucking whale. She’s just such an offense against the patriarchal standards of fuckability that the entire board is buzzing about what a goddamn fat ass she is.
Moral of the story: you can attach a camera to a washer and make a good portion of your audience want to hurl. You can make your secondary character an annoying macho butt nugget. You can cash in on the ever-so-popular horror genre of “hurting women for funsies”. You can forget to include that thing called a plot.
But all that anyone will notice is that the actress isn’t a size 0.
The verdict: I give this movie a 10 out of 10 on the nausea scale for finding a way to make me simultaneously physically and mentally sick, even an hour after I leave the theater. Well done.