Sunday, November 1, 2009

Paranormal Activity at The Metreon

Until yesterday, I didn’t realize “paranormal” could mean “supernatural” or “ghostly.” I thought the word referred to general abnormalities. For instance, a kangaroo skipping down Market Street would be paranormal. A fish out of water, also paranormal. Little did I know the word often pertains to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation. As in, supernatural phenomena. Demon activity. The Exorcist. Ever heard of it? Apparently that’s paranormal. My blissful ignorance is the reason I agreed to see the movie Paranormal Activity on the spookiest night of the year – October 31, All Hallow’s Eve.

“But it’s Halloweeeeeen,” my friends whine when I wrinkle my nose at their idea of seeing a scream-your-guts-out thriller. They’re horror-film buffs and enjoy disturbing movies like Psycho and The Last House on the Left, while I favor romantic comedies – preferably starring Matthew McConaughey.

Halloween Schmalloween. No way am I sitting for 120 minutes in utter terror and then going home to a creaky apartment alone. No way, no how. They understand, so they choose Paranormal Activity at 10:05 p.m. at The Metreon. I admit it doesn’t sound like a romantic comedy, but for me the title doesn’t connote a frightening film starring demons and ghouls. So I oblige. Besides, I have no other plans.

Luckily there’s someone in our group who’s in the same boat. “I’ll need about three of these if I’m gonna see this flick,” she says to the waiter at Chevy’s while pointing to her extra-large margarita on the rocks. She’s not a fan of horror films, either. Her multicolored glass is empty, so she slurps the tequila-flavored water that the melted ice has created. After another round of drinks, we decide we’re mentally prepared for – dun dun dun – Paranormal Activity, a low-budget picture that writer-director Oren Peli filmed in just seven days at his own home in 2006, with a crew of three. It’s supposed to be like the new Blair Witch Project.

The first hour and ten minutes aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. A door opens and closes here, a chandelier shakes there. Nothing too spooky. Plus there’s a huge gay and lesbian party going on upstairs, and the thumping base echoes through our entire theater, taking away from the movie’s chill factor. (The Metreon ends up giving us free movie tickets because of it.)

For the last five minutes, the auditorium is one bloodcurdling shriek. By this point I’ve sunk low in my seat, and my jacket covers my entire face, including my eyes, which are squeezed tightly shut. I don’t see one bit of the last terrifying scene but decide I’d better stay at Jenn’s anyway. She takes me in for the night, having to wake me up just once for talking in my sleep.

Thank you, Jenny!

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  1. haha... you were great, and you're always welcome at my place. Next time, I promise not to pull the fire alarm or freak out when you talk in your sleep :) xoxo