600word Flim Review
Paranormal Activity: What the Movie Got Right… and Wrong
By Stephen Wagner
How much of the activity is accurate?
DreamWorks Pictures / Paramount Pictures
A close look at the hit movie, Paranormal Activity, what the filmmakers got right and got wrong with regard to a real haunting, and what the characters did right and wrong.
THE FILM Paranormal Activity has become a phenomenal sensation around the country, primarily because many viewers found the low-budget movie with no big-name stars so effective. Some thought it did not live up to the hype generated around it, but it continues to make big money and an enormous return on its initial investment of less than $20,000.
One question I’ve been asked by people who have seen the film is: Can stuff like that really happen?
The answer is: Yes, many of the phenomena that are depicted in the film can and do happen to people. Some of it was faithfully rendered in the film. There were many things that the characters did correctly in that situation. On the other hand, there were things that the film did not get quite right – they were exaggerated (it’s a piece of entertainment after all; we can’t fault them for that) – and the characters did some things that are not recommended by paranormal researchers.
So here’s an examination of what the film got right and wrong. SPOILER WARNING: This article divulges elements of the plot that you might not want to know about if you haven’t seen the film. If so, return here after you’ve seen the film.
WHAT THE FILM GOT RIGHT
Types of poltergeist activity. For the most part, the film accurately depicted the kinds of phenomena that occur with a poltergeist or haunting:
· Lights and appliances going off and on by themselves.
· Unexplained noises, such as bangs and raps on the walls, that cannot be accounted for by natural means. Very often, the location of these noises is hard to pinpoint.
· Mysterious voices and whispering.
· Covers and sheets being pulled off a sleeping person.
Escalation of poltergeist activity. As happens in the film, poltergeist activity most often starts slowly, even with subtlety. It might start with a few mild unexplained noises every once in a while. Then they become more frequent and louder. Then the peculiarities with the lights, TVs and other appliances might kick in. This can then be followed by shadows and even voices. In some rare cases, things can get much worse (worse than even happens in the film).
Paranormal focus. Paranormal Activity was also correct in indicating that such activity very often centers around an individual – the woman, in the case of the film – rather than a place. So she was correct in telling her boyfriend that it probably would not have mattered if they fled their apartment; the activity would have stayed with her.
Activity at night. Most of the paranormal activity in the movie occurs at night, and essentially this is very often the case. Poltergeist and haunting activity certainly does take place during daylight hours, but it seems to happen more often at night. I say “seems” because I’m not sure there’s much data to support this. It may very well be that it’s merely perception that it occurs more often at night: People are often away from their homes during the day (things could be happening while they’re away); the night is quieter, when people may be more likely to notice odd noises; unexplained shadows might be more noticeable in the night’s artificial lighting.
Shadow forms. In the movie, a person-shaped shadow is seen passing across the couple’s bedroom door. The sightings of such “shadow people,” as they have come to be known, are becoming more and more common. Shadow people are not always connected to poltergeist and haunting activity, but they can be. And, as the film depicts, they can manifest as fleeting shadow forms across a door or wall, but they can also have far scarier shapes. There are reports of these shadow people appearing to be opaque or even solid-looking black masses that stand or move in an open space, such as a hallway or the middle of a room. In other words, in these cases, they don’t seem to be shadows cast on a surface; they seem to be three-dimensional shadows!
Physical contact. The woman who is the object of the poltergeist or haunting activity in the movie is affected physically by the mysterious force, receiving scratches and a bite mark. Does this kind of violent physical contact really happen? Yes, it does, but in very rare, extreme cases. There are documented cases of victims being scratched, bit, slapped, pushed, shoved, hair-pulled and more. Again, I must emphasize that this kind of physical attack is relatively rare.
The paranormal investigator. The film did a pretty good job in its depiction of a good paranormal investigator and an initial interview. He wasn’t some over-the-top “psychic” lunatic. He asks reasonable, careful, intelligent questions, at first attempting to eliminate natural causes for the activity. He isn’t alarmist and doesn’t scare his clients with proclamations of demon infestations, or that they should vacate their apartment immediately. In general, he gave them good advice.
He is also correct in recommending another investigator when he becomes uncomfortable with the things he was sensing.
WHAT THE FILM GOT WRONG
Physical contact. In addition to the scratches and bites, the woman also is eventually dragged down a hallway, feet first, by some unseen entity. Could this happen in an extreme poltergeist or “evil spirit” haunting? I suppose we can’t absolutely rule it out, but I don’t know of any case on record in which a person has been dragged down a hallway or something similar. This doesn’t mean there hasn’t been such a case, and it might be possible, but the chances of something this extreme happening are so remote that I have to toss it off as merely the imagination of the filmmaker.
The poltergeist activity. Although the film got many of the types of poltergeist activity and its escalation correct, it did not understand that the phenomena most often fades away and disappears on its own after a few weeks. If the film depicted that, however, they would have a film with a very dull ending.
The Ouija. There were a few incidents with regard to the Ouija board with which I have reservations:
· Ouija planchettes do not move by themselves. Let me hedge a little by saying that I cannot state dogmatically that a Ouija board planchette has not and cannot move without a person touching it. After all, if a poltergeist or ghost can switch a light off and on, pound on a wall or even scratch a person, could it not also move a Ouija planchette? Yes, I’d have to admit, and I have even received reports from people who say they have witnessed this. As far as I know, however, a Ouija planchette moving on its own has never been documented on film or video. (If I’m wrong, please send me the evidence.) And in the cases where people say they have witnessed it, people obviously were present, which could indicate a psychokinetic source (that is, caused by the minds of the observers). In the film, the planchette moves when no one is around.
· Ouija boards do not erupt into flame. Such a thing happening is highly doubtful.
Spirit possession. In the film, the woman – another spoiler here! – is possessed by the entity and attacks her partner. Possible?
It appears to be true that a person can be “possessed” temporarily by a spirit or foreign personality. Part of the problem in understanding this phenomenon is what this possession really is. However, there are good cases in which a spirit personality temporarily takes control of a living person to relay a message or other information. This might be the case with some spirit mediums. And such possession has also occurred spontaneously without the living person inviting the spirit invasion. (I dislike using the word “possession” because it automatically makes most people think of demonic possession, which we are not talking about here.) And, as I’ve said, we know so little about this phenomenon and how “genuine” the documented cases really are (there could all kinds of psychological factors), that it’s hard to even talk about in an intelligent way. Having said that, if the phenomenon is possible, then the possession by good (or benign) or evil forces both are possible.
With regard to the film, however, can an evil spirit possess and control a person to the point of murder? Countless murderers have, of course, blamed their crimes on demonic possession, and no doubt there are many among the faithful who think they’re right. I certainly don’t. And I find the film’s climax to be so unlikely that it’s ludicrous. More colorful filmmaking.
WHAT THE COUPLE DID RIGHT
The couple in Paranormal Activity reacted to the phenomena in a quite realistic and correct way, for the most part. If you’re having similar troubles, this is what you also should do:
Document the activity. The very premise of Paranormal Activity is that the boyfriend attempts to document the weird things happening to them with a video camera. This is a good idea for a few reasons:
· You have hard evidence for the phenomena.
· Seeing or hearing the phenomena on tape will prove that it wasn’t just your imagination; you’re not crazy!
· The recorded evidence will aid paranormal researchers with any investigation.
· The documented evidence might help you understand or deal with the phenomena: studying it might reveal there is a natural explanation after all, or it might provide clues in dealing with something of a genuine paranormal nature.
Call an investigator. When the paranormal activity got too spooky for the couple, they called a paranormal investigator they trusted. Right – and right not to just call the local ghost hunters. Do a little homework, ask around and try to find an investigator or team of investigators that is respected or has a good reputation. In some cases this may well be the local ghost hunters. The key is to find someone you trust. You’re bringing this person or team into your home and into a very sensitive situation. You don’t want inexperienced people who have no idea what they’re doing. And avoid anyone who will charge you for an investigation.
WHAT THE COUPLE DID WRONG
Confronting the entity. When the couple was at a breaking point with the activity, the boyfriend openly confronted and challenged the entity. This is probably not a good idea when dealing with negative energies. They might accept the challenge and the troublesome activity could get worse – much worse.
With some mild poltergeist and benign haunting activity, it can be effective to tell the spirit in a calm but firm tone (as if you’re talking to a child) that you don’t like their antics, that it’s your house, and that you would appreciate it if they would cease and leave you alone. Believe it or not, this can actually be effective, especially with playful, prankster ghosts that hide things, make irritating noises or are otherwise bothersome.
Using the Ouija board to make contact. The girlfriend specifically warns the boyfriend not to employ a Ouija board to try to make contact with the entity. He does it anyway, with disastrous results. (I think we could call the Ouija board erupting into flames on the coffee table disastrous.) She, too, has heard that the Ouija can open a portal to spirit energies, some of which might be quite negative.
In this case, I agree with her. I’m not sure I buy into the Ouija-portal idea, but in a situation like the couple’s, where there is a great deal of fear and unknown phenomena taking place, it’s best not to further excite the raw emotions of the household with the crazy messages that can come across on a Ouija board. Even if the Ouija is powered by the users’ psyches, all their anxiety and deep-seated fears could manifest as negative Ouija messages and possibly worsen psychokinetic activity around the home. It’s not that the Ouija has any power of its own, but it can serve as a focusing element for the conscious or unconscious mind.
So, taking into consideration that Paranormal Activity is a work of fiction that needs to entertain and attempts to scare its audience, I’d give it a grade of B- for its depiction of a real experience with paranormal activity.
Double Header: Paranormal Activity 2 and 3!
Paranormal Activity 2
Reviewed By: Mack Rawden
As you’re reading this, The Hangover 2 is filming in Southeast Asia. This is because, for a sequel to work in Hollywood, it must go further, it must leave Kevin stranded in New York, or take the Griswald family to Europe or move to Havana to dance with not Patrick Swayze. Treading water is a great way to become irrelevant, but then again, so is betraying the source material with exhibitions of grandiosity. It’s all about taking the next logical step, which, yes, should be toward something bigger but not necessarily way bigger.
Paranormal Activity 2 is a little bigger, a little scarier and a little busier than its predecessor, but more importantly, it’s better. New director Tod Williams has taken Oren Peli’s winding, twisting first-person demon encounter and added a few more characters, creating a dual prequel/ sequel which not only offers clarity and backstory to the original but also a chilling vision of its own which celebrates and polishes more than imitates and muddles. There is, of course, something to be said for originality and getting there first, but in a side-by-side comparison, Paranormal Activity 2 is the better film across the board.
The story picks up a few years before the first one started. Original protagonist Katie’s (Katie Featherstone) sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden) has just arrived home from the hospital with her husband Dan (Brian Bolden), step-daughter Ali (Molly Ephraim) and newborn Hunter. Unfortunately, eerie happenings begin almost immediately. The house is ransacked, pots begin mysteriously falling and the pool cleaner somehow ends up on the deck every night. Frustrated and eager to appease his wife, Dan installs security cameras around the house but as in the first film, they end up documenting more than dissuading any demonic activities.
Soon the family’s Hispanic maid grows fed up with the commotion and decides to light incense all over the house to ward off the bad spirits. Dan catches her and she’s quickly fired, leading to a few babysitting misadventures between Ali and Hunter. Both women, like the maid, are convinced something is definitely amiss, but Dan’s deep-rooted rationality, along with Katie’s insistence that her sister and step-niece just let it go, prevents any exorcisms or medium rendezvous’. At least until the family dog seizures and Christi shows up with unexplained bruises and bite marks, leading to a clever, breakneck conclusion which not only brings resolution to Paranormal Activity 2 but actually bookends the original, further explaining exactly what happened to Micah and Katie and why.
Paranormal Activity 2 is not the best horror film you’ll see this year. Many of the same lingering problems of pacing plague the sequel/prequel too, but with an expanded cast of characters, they’re a lot less glaring. The family dog, particularly, is a welcome addition to the fold, providing an active, yet objective viewpoint to the hellish encounters. With less word of mouth buzz and no advance critic’s screenings, I suspect this film won’t have quite the lasting impact of the original, but that’s no fault of anyone involved here. Everything about Paranormal Activity has taken a small step forward. There’s now six or seven cameras instead of one, a baby that’s being tormented rather than a grown woman, and a second female protagonist to freak out at the poor, fatherly bastard trying to hold things together.
It would have been easy to throw money at special effects and glossy camera work, but to do so would have betrayed what the franchise is all-about. Paranormal Activity 2 shows restraint, and in doing so, is sure to please anyone who enjoyed the original. Crude sex tape jokes and all.
Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
Reviewed by Owen Gleiberman | Oct 21, 201
In the shivery-skillful, highly worthy fear-factor sequel Paranormal Activity 2, we’re inside a tasteful and spacious suburban home in Carlsbad, Calif., where a patchwork quilt of a family — husband, second wife, toddler, teenage daughter from first marriage — finds itself menaced by what looks, at first, to be a robbery. (There’s a break-in and the house got trashed, but…nothing was stolen.) To protect themselves, the family sets up a hidden-camera video-surveillance system, and this allows the film to cut back and forth among half a dozen fixed-angle views of the house, each one coming at you in granular streaming video. (The shots are in color during the daytime, and dank fluorescent monochrome at night.) The images all point down, which is subtly disquieting, and each one is composed with enough wide-angle space and distance, and enough nooks and crannies, so that even when nothing is happening, the often dead-silent shots tend to grow scarier the more you look at them.
There’s an image of the front walkway; one of the swimming pool (where a mechanical, bottom-trawling pool cleaner keeps teasing us to think that it may be a poltergeist); a kitchen-eye view of the living room; a living-room-eye view of the kitchen; a shot of the entrance foyer and shag-carpet stairway; and, finally, the nursery, where a toddler named Hunter becomes a particular object of fascination — for us, and for the spirit who may be on hand. In Paranormal Activity 2, our eyes keep darting back and forth, scanning the sidewalks, the doorways, the posh bric-a-brac in that overstuffed kitchen, searching (before it can frighten us!) for a telltale bit of movement — for the barest hint of an apparition edging into the frame, or an inanimate object that decides to move around on its own. It’s like a haunted-house version of Where’s Waldo. Alfred Hitchcock used to say that if you jolted an audience with a bomb blast out of the blue, that was merely a shock, but if you planted a bomb and made the audience wait for it to go off, that was suspense. Paranormal Activity 2 blends the two modes into what might be called shockpense. The film keeps jolting us out of the blue, all right — with sudden booms, doors that open of their own accord, or a frying pan that drops out of a pot hanger. In a funny way, though, what makes these devices work is their very randomness: They tickle us with terror because watching the movie, we do know that a bomb has been planted, only it’s a bomb — or, more accurately, a demon — you can’t see.
Offhand, it would be hard to think of another movie that squeezed more thrills and chills out of a single frozen-camera setup than the original Paranormal Activity. No one who saw it will forget that deceptively bland, spooky-neutral, gray-and-white shot of a ranch-house bedroom, the time code leaping ahead in little jump cuts of fear as the goings-on grew ever more freaky and bumpy-in-the-night. Made for roughly $11,000, Paranormal Activity was such an ingenious fusion of form and content that there was every reason to suspect that the sequel would use a bigger budget to deliver fewer goose bumps. But Paranormal Activity 2, directed by the gifted Tod Williams (who has no connection to the original film), is anything but a rip-off. It made me jump, sweat, and chew my fingernails.
Mixed in with the movie’s stately panoramas of anxiety is the usual clatter of handheld camera and fake-authentic in-your-face acting/nonacting. If The Blair Witch Project set the gold standard for horror-movie performances that sort of, kind of convince you that you could be watching an actual documentary, Paranormal Activity 2 never quite takes that full creepy-crawly vérité leap. The actors are vivid, but it’s a far trickier thing to make us believe that we’re watching not just a bunch of testy twentysomethings but a complicated nuclear family. It took me a while to register that Kristi (Sprague Grayden), the perky mother of Hunter, is married to Daniel (Brian Boland), the gruff and goateed middle-aged dad, because they never truly seem like a couple. (Katie Featherston, from the first movie, makes a welcome reappearance as the same character, who is now Kristi’s more-than-meets-the-eye, feisty sister.) There are great horror movies about families who fall apart when goosed by the supernatural, but here, despite the humanistic background of director Williams (his previous films are the wry and wise Jeff Bridges drama The Door in the Floor and The Adventures of Sebastian Cole), the psychodrama is thin. I also found the ending too abrupt. (Don’t worry: I’m giving away nothing.) For most of Paranormal Activity 2, though, you’ll watch and wait for the unknown and be jittered with pleasure when it arrives. B
By Kurt Forman
It’s hard to account for the staggering success of the Paranormal Activity franchise, but this essay will try and lay out some possible reasons. First, the story takes place in Carlsbad, a community just north of San Diego where the original film took place. Like its parental predecessor Poltergeist, the series is located in a sleepy California suburb populated by McMansions (is a pejorative for a type of large, new luxury house which is judged to be incongruous for its neighborhood) and yuppies feeling the urge to breed more of their kind. In short, it’s an update of Father Knows Best as a visualization of the middle class American dream anchored in private property and home ownership. The nuclear family is the singular obsession of the American narrative, and these films feel like propaganda from the 1950’s.
However, the film franchise was launched in 2007, roughly the same time period in which the American economic bubble burst, causing millions of people to lose their jobs and their homes = Death of American Dream? Although, it is impossible to prove the causal connection in any scientific sense, it is interesting to speculate that audiences going to Paranormal Activity 1 may have begun to comprehend the existence of the collapse on a subliminal level; after all, it took a long time for the media begin to visualize the enormity of the breakdown in a language that audiences could perceive consciously. The case of Bernie Madoff was the first concrete case that the American economy, and indeed the world, was being was being manipulated by seriously deranged men.
Concerns about Madoff’s business surfaced as early as 1999, when financial analyst Harry Markopolos informed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that he believed it was legally and mathematically impossible to achieve the gains Madoff claimed to deliver.. . . According to their attorney, Madoff’s sons then reported their father to federal authorities. On December 11, 2008, he was arrested and charged with securities fraud. On June 29, 2009, Chin sentenced Madoff to the maximum sentence of 150 years in federal prison.[
Bernie Madoff was the most visible aspect of the impending economic catastrophe, and his trial made headlines for months across the globe. American audiences therefore had a villain to blame as they began to grasp the extent to which individual greed and indifference contributed to the collapse of the American dream. Shortly thereafter ensued a string of morbid economic analogies to re-align domestic audiences to the lethality of the impeding Apocalypse, and described within such newly minted words as toxic assets and zombie banks, and zombie companies, suggesting directly that America had been cast into a Horror film:
Toxic asset is a popular term for certain financial assets whose value has fallen significantly and for which there is no longer a functioning market, so that such assets cannot be sold at a price satisfactory to the holder. The term became common during the Late-2000s financial crisis, in which they continue to play a major role.
A zombie bank is a financial institution that has an economic net worth less than zero but continues to operate because its ability to repay its debts is shored up by implicit or explicit government credit support.
Zombie company is a media term for a company that needs constant bailouts in order to operate. There are several types of zombie companies. The term regained popularity in the media during 2008 for companies receiving bailouts from the U.S. Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). A 2002 New York Times article about Japanese companies kept on “life-support” with loans include a headline that stated, “They’re Alive! They’re Alive! Not!; Japan Hesitates to Put an End to Its ‘Zombie’ Businesses.”
By default, then, the Paranormal franchise was poised to function as a metaphor for the global economic failure that fueled their latent narratives featuring an invisible demon hell bent on destruction. Especially at a time when many Americans owed more money on there houses than its actual market value; in such a case, it is commonly referred as being underwater. The underlying economic stress may help to illustrate the popularity of a franchise that had little visible assets to offer audiences in a market flooded with massive blockbuster spectacles like Avatar, Iron Man, Harry Potter, Spiderman, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Paranormal Activity 2 opens up with the arrival of Daniel and Katie’s infant son, Hunter. Daniel has a teenage daughter from a previous marriage named Ali, whose Mother is dead for reasons not disclosed. Film jump cuts to Hunter about a year later when the paranormal activity in the house begins.
Someone takes a sinister dump in Ali’s uptstair’s bathroom, but she vehemently denies responsibility leaving audiences to imagine who, or what, left the offending excrement. It is possible to speculate that film is trying to visualize the demon Toby indirectly as has been the pattern throughout the series: opening closing doors and closets, thumping sounds in the wall and floorboards, lights and televisions turning off and on, and pots and pans falling from racks in kitchen. The film suggests that while Toby is invisible, he is paradoxically tangible as well.
Overall, the series has an obsession with toilets an feces, especially in Paranormal 2 and 3, starting with the strange fecal dump in Ali’s bathroom. In Paranormal 3, for instance, Dennis accidentally tapes his wife on the toilet when he blunders into the bathroom with the video camera. Later, she plays a prank on him and his assistant Randy in the same bathroom, jumping out from the closet wearing a Halloween mask. Taken by surprise, Dennis goes and sits on toilet he had filmed in the very same position she had been in the previous frame. His assistant Randy says “You might as well take your dump there, I just crapped my pants!”
Additionally, in Paranormal Activity 3, Kristy and Katie go into the bathroom with the video camera in order to play Bloody Mary, ostensibly to draw forth the spirit and likewise scare the crap out of each other. After stating her name aloud three times, the girls eagerly await the bloody apparition but nothing initially happens. They leave the bathroom because of the arrival of their Grandmother, but leave the camera behind. Also, they go into the bathroom and play Bloody Mary trying to scare the crap out of each other.
Another visualization of Toby is a home invasion scene in Paranormal Activity 2 in which nothing is stole suggesting paranormal origins. This prompts Daniel to buy surveillance cameras and mount them around and more important within the house. This is an obvious plot contrivance to explain the origins of the found footage that constitutes the content of the film itself; however, it also underscores the irrational nature of the camera setup as a deterrent to home break-ins. There are surveillance cameras deployed 1) over front door, 2) on backyard pool and Jacuzzi, 3) on the front entrance and stairs to second floor, camera 4 is in Family Room pointing to kitchen, camera 5) is in the kitchen pointing down towards the Island, and 6) in Hunter’s room pointing at the crib.
Why, or instance, put surveillance cameras inside the house if their goal is a deterrent to keep intruders out? The obvious answer is to systemically explain the footage that is edited into the film; however, it also opens up questions relative to the politics of surveillance. For instance, the use of surveillance cameras to monitor the border between the United States and Mexico is a super hot button issue in the United States.
AlterNet / By Liliana Segura
Bush Policy: Quick Border Fence Trumps the Environment
Current controversy aside, the border “fence” is one of those harebrained schemes that might be funny if it weren’t so cynical and racist.
April 3, 2008 |
Bottom of Form
Fear not, America: the Bush administration is not giving up on its immigrant-blocking border fence. On Tuesday, it declared that it’s going to ignore some 30 environmental laws and regulations in order to accelerate its project to build a wall separating the United States from Mexico. Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, issued the order, with an ominous warning. “Criminal activity at the border does not stop for endless debate or protracted litigation,” he said. Cutting through the legal red tape “will enable important security projects to keep moving forward Like fear-mongering, flouting the law is part of the daily grind in the Bush administration — but in this case, Chertoff is doing nothing illegal. The power to waive the law in the name of national security was granted to him specifically by Congress in 2005. The “REAL ID Act,” passed as a rider to an Iraq funding bill, declared that the head of the Department of Homeland Security could waive any laws standing in the way of “expeditious construction of â€¦ barriers and roads” along the border. It was not the first time Chertoff has invoked such a waiver — DHS has used them before to push through fencing in Arizona and San Diego — but it was definitely his most sweeping order to date. It advances DHS’s proposal to erect towers and high-tech surveillance equipment along a sprawling 470-mile span of the border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Originally, such action was supposed to be a last resort, but, as Tuesday’s order demonstrates, this is hardly proving to be the case. Chertoff’s response to environmentalists has been to turn around and say that, in fact, it is illegal immigration that is bad for the environment. “I’ve seen pictures of human waste, garbage, discarded bottles and other human artifact in pristine areas,” Chertoff said last fall. “And believe me, that is the worst thing you can do to the environment.” Current controversy aside, the border “fence” is one of those harebrained schemes that might be funny if it weren’t so cynical and racist. A perennial favorite of the anti-immigrant right, the idea to construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico has been afloat for decades. More recently, historic immigration levels and the post-9/11 political landscape have legitimized the project in the name of national security. Part of a broad emphasis on border control by the Bush administration, which likes to boast about its success keeping out “illegals” — under Bush, the budget for border security has more than doubled, from $4.6 billion in 2001 to $10.4 billion — the border fence was officially codified in the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
us-border-terrorists Passed by the House and Senate in September 2006, the Secure Fence Act mandated the construction of a barrier stretching along a 700-mile portion of the 1,969-mile U.S.-Mexico border. The measure was a bipartisan effort; with the midterm elections weeks away, many lawmakers considered it a political imperative. As Texas Republican John Cornyn put it, bluntly: “The choice we were presented was: Are we going to vote to enhance border security, or against it?” The bill passed 80 to 19 in the Senate. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted for it. But confusion about what kind of shape the “fence” would take emerged almost immediately. “No sooner did Congress authorize construction of a 700-mile fence on the U.S.-Mexico border last week than lawmakers rushed to approve separate legislation that ensures it will never be built, at least not as advertised,” the Washington Post reported in early October. What was supposed to be an order to build a long and towering concrete wall had quickly morphed into the White House and DHS’s desire to allocate funds for a “virtual fence,” emphasizing surveillance technology and “tactical infrastructure,” to build what Bush called “the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history.” Logistical confusion aside, on October 26, 2006, Bush signed the Secure Fence Act into law. For an administration that has so cunningly displaced government with marketing, the border fence was a PR problem from the start. Aside from the fact that it’s a costly mess of a project that has angered people across the political spectrum, on the ground in Texas, Arizona, and other states, the administration has infuriated local municipalities by systematically overriding their say in what happens in their own backyard. (In Texas, to date, it has sued 50 landowners for access to their properties.) The massive project has even underscored the country’s reliance on immigrant labor. In one rather delicious twist of irony, two months after Bush signing the Secure Fence Act, a California company called Golden State Fence Company was forced pay some $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Around the same time, a December 2006 study by the Congressional Research Service estimated that the cost of building a double steel fence — which supporters of the wall argue is necessary for it to be effective — at a whopping $49 billion, a figure that
The politics of North South plays out with the Mexican nanny Martin who is under surveillance at the beginning of the film and than deported when she begins to perform an exorcism of the house using burning incense. In general, this plays out the role undocumented labor plays in the United State’s economy as they are brought in when needed, and then summarily given the boot. I’ve supplied the following cartoons to help illustrated this kind of border racism and paranoia:
Right Wing racist propaganda characterize emigration from the South in the most extreme manner possible, suggesting that these people are little more than parasites coming to the United States to loot the system and destroy the country.
The backyard camera is trained on the pool where an automated pool cleaner keeps escaping the pool, suggestive of the typecasting of undocumented workers from the South cleaning machines with little or no humanistic component in a mechanical yet futile attempt to escape their script as servants and laborers to their powerful neighbor to the North.
The Rio Grande (known in Mexico as the Río Bravo del Norte, or simply Río Bravo) is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. According to the International Boundary and Water Commission, its total length was 1,896 miles (3,051 km) in the late 1980s, though course shifts occasionally result in length changes. Depending on how it is measured, the Rio Grande is the fourth or fifth longest river system in North America.
The river serves as a natural border between the U.S. state of Texas and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. A very short stretch of the river serves as the boundary between the U.S. states of Texas and New Mexico. Since the mid–20th century, heavy water consumption of farms and cities along the river has left only 20% of its natural discharge to flow to the Gulf. Near the river’s mouth, the heavily irrigated Rio Grande Valley is an important agricultural region. The Rio Grande is one of 19 Great Waters recognized by the America’s Great Waters Coalition.
Paranormal 2 3 Nanny cam
Why doesn’t Lisa tell them about the blow incident?
[Spoilers] Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Explained:
January 3, 2014
By Don Sumner – Editor-in-Chief
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones released theatrically on Friday, January 3 2014, decidedly out of sequence from the other PA offerings which primarily release in October. This film is presented as a kind of “offshoot” rather than an “official” member of the series or as a sequel, but definitely stays true to the established characters and storyline of the popular horror movie franchise.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones follows Jesse, along with his family and friends, as they make their way through witchcraft and demonic possession in their modest apartment complex in East LA. Here at Best Horror Movies we have a non-spoiler review of the film for those who are looking for some information without having everything given away. For those who want it, please see:
For others, however, who want to know what happened in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones in all details, read on. Every scene of the film is explained with full spoilers, and what happens from scene to scene.
aranormal Activity: The Marked Ones – Altar
The action begins with Jesse living through the Valedictorian speech at his high school graduation. Directly after the ceremony Jesse is outside with his family and friends, including Dad, Grandma, and best friend Hector. The graduation of Jesse is a pretty big deal because once they get home to their East LA apartment the entire courtyard is filled with family and friends to celebrate the big event. One of Jesse’s best friends, Marisol, shows up late with salsa, and Jesse receives cash and a hand-held camera from his father. One of the topics of conversation is the apartment at the end of the courtyard that has newspapers taped to all of the windows, obscuring the view inside. Anna, an older woman, lives inside the apartment, and everyone talks about her and rumors that she is a “bruja”, or witch. There are also reports of hearing moans and wails coming from her apartment late at night.
The next morning we meet Jesse’s friend Hector, and quickly learn that Hector is the friend that Jesse can talk into doing anything when he is convinced to get inside a laundry basket equipped with the camera and ride it down the concrete stairs of the apartment complex. Of course he crashes and burns, getting scrapes and bumps along the way. While filming the injuries of Hector and other sights around the complex the boys see Oscar, the valedictorian from Jesse’s graduating class, come out of Anna’s apartment looking spooked and strange – he doesn’t talk to Jesse or Hector, but instead just quickly leaves the complex and runs down the street.
That night Hector is hanging out at Jesse’s house, and they get Grandma to do a couple of shots of tequila – she dances around and generally looks like an adorable old lady, snapping a towel around. Later on Jesse and Hector hear some screams and other strange sounds coming from Anna’s apartment, which it’s clear now is right below Jesse’s apartment. They go into one of the bedrooms and realize they can hear the sounds very clearly through a heating vent, and decide to lower the camera down the shaft to see if they can view what’s going on in that apartment through Anna’s vent below. Miraculously they do get a view through the vent, or a beautiful nude woman with a great body standing still inside the room. Then Anna appears, also nude (and decidedly less beautiful) and proceeds to paint a circle with a triangle inside it on the woman’s stomach with, what appears to be, blood. After grandma catches the boys and thinks they are watching porn, they boys look back to the monitor that is catching the action and see the faces of two young girls staring through the grate into the camera – they quickly pull the camera up to keep from getting caught and close the vent, laughing and shrieking all the while.
aranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) crime scene
While playing with a “Simon” toy, the one with the four colored panels that blink in a series so the player can match the series, Jesse, Hector and Marisol notice a strange pattern that gives the appearance that the toy is actually answering Jesse’s questions – a red beep for “no” and a green beep for “yes”. It’s funny, but gets less so as it becomes more and more obvious that we’re not dealing with mere coincidence. The next morning Jesse wakes up with blood on his sheets and some kind of bite mark on his arm.
Jesse and Hector head to the playground to shoot some hoops, of course with the camera on, and afterward rummage through a backpack looking for change for the vending machine. Meanwhile a couple of thugs approach the boys and attempt to mug them for the backpack, kicking and beating on Jesse when he resists. Suddenly both of thugs go flying away from Jesse as if thrown. Jesse doesn’t much remember the incident, and doesn’t know how he did it. Later, while consulting with the Simon toy, they learn that whatever it is that is answering questions with the toy also exacted the revenge on the thugs. The “super powers” do not stop with winning fights, when Jesse learns that he is unable to fall down – an unseen hand catches his body and rights him whenever he tries to fall backward, whether it’s from a standing position on the floor or on a chair. Jesse also finds that he can inflate an air mattress with one easy breath, even with Hector laying on it.
Jesse and Hector decide that they are going to torment the strange neighbor Anna, and talk a little kid into knocking on her door. They then set up some fireworks outside her window in an attempt to torment her further, but it doesn’t light – and suddenly Oscar the valedictorian comes leaping out of Anna’s window and runs away. They soon discover that Anna has been murdered, and that Oscar is the prime suspect. After the activity surrounding the murder and the crime scene ends, Jesse, Hector and Marisol break into Anna’s apartment to have a look around, and find several altars and other scary witch things around. In a shock-scare moment the kids are suddenly confronted by Hector’s brother, a tattooed gang banger, who states that Oscar is not responsible for the murders.
Feeling like he’s 10 feet tall and bulletproof, Jesse has Hector join him as he crashes a party going on at a house on the block. There he meets Celia and takes her back to Anna’s empty apartment for a private place to have sex. When he has to go downstairs to get a condom Celia starts hearing noises coming from under the floor, and finds a trap door. She opens it and someone tries to grab her from inside. Celia runs from the room screaming, and Oscar comes out of the hatch and walks into the bedroom. Jesse comes out and chases Oscar down, and Oscar shows him that he too has a bit mark on his arm, and says that he’s been marked by Anna, so had to kill her. He then runs off and while Jesse and Hector are looking for him he crashes into the roof of a nearby car, having hurled himself from a rooftop to his death. Jesse, Hector and Marisol check out the trap door basement and find plastic hanging all over the place, and another alter – this time with pictures of Oscar, Jesse, and Jesse’s family. Jesse’s mom is in one of the pictures, while pregnant with Jesse, standing next to Anna who it now appears used to be a family friend.
aranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) – Pictures
Jesse, Hector and Marisol seek out Oscar’s gang bang brother to try and get some answers about Oscar’s behavior, and are let into Oscar’s room. Inside there is a wall of newspaper clippings about boys whose mother died giving birth to them (as Jesse’s had) and stories about atrocities they committed. This is presumably a wall of other “marked ones”. One of the articles is about a girl, Ali Rey, and there is a small note with the name Ali Rey and a phone number pinned onto the article. When they kids leave the apartment Hector grabs the note with the number.
Jesse begins acting more and more strangely – sullen and moody, and while in the bathroom finds that he has black hairs in his eyes that he can pull out and throw in the sink. He then hears his little dog barking and follows the sound to Anna’s apartment and down inside the trap door in the floor. He goes down to investigate and encounters some little girls with black eyes, and some other ghostly figure. Somehow then he ends up back in his room, but he’s extremely sullen and strange now. There is one scene where he goes to the grocery store and attacks some guy talking to Marisol, and then confronts the shop owner. Jesse is getting very dark, and unable to control his actions.
Hector and Marisol call the number Hector snagged from Oscar’s room and meet Ali, who is actually the step daughter of Kristy Rey, the sister of Katie from the first Paranormal Activity. She tells the story of her family, and about the marked ones – the first born males of a woman are marked while still in the womb and possessed, and that possession takes hold when the boy turns 18. It is revealed that Anna was marking the child of the nude woman in her apartment earlier when she was spied naked with the video camera. Ali tells them that after the boys turn 18 there is a final ritual and their behavior returns to normal, but that boy is no longer the person that they were before.
Meanwhile grandma has been doing some investigation into removing demons, and calls Jesse over to do a ritual with eggs to remove the unclean spirit. Jesse grabs granny’s hand with the egg and smashes it, red blood coming out. Then the lights go out and the camera sees the walls bend unnaturally and then Jesse floating in the air, before an explosion hits and Jesse is left unconscious on the floor. Jesse then disappears and so does Grandma, and when Hector finds Jesse laughing at the top of a flight of stairs he looks down and sees that Grandma is at the bottom, in a pool of blood. Jesse then disappears and the family goes to the hospital.
Hector and Marisol get in Hector’s car, planning to go to a house on a map provided by Ali as the place where the final ritual is to take place, as she says that Ali will be drawn there. The car dies in a deserted alley unfortunately, and then Jesse is seen in the distance, coming toward the car. He then disappears on the car room, then dramatically kicks in the window and pulls Hector out, choking him on the ground. Marisol hits Jesse with a baseball bat and they put him in the car to take him to the hospital. Before they get very far, however, a truck crashes into the car and temporarily knocks Hector and Marisol out, and whoever’s in the truck steals Jesse and drives off. Hector and Marisol go get the gang banger and one of his friends and head to the house of the ritual.
aranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) – Jesse
The four kids lurk around an abandoned house, recognizable as the same house that is in Paranormal Activity 3 – Grandma’s house where all of the witches were briefly seen in that movie. For a while nobody is around, and the gangbanger friend sets to trying to pick the lock of the front door. While looking in the window of an outbuilding suddenly women in white come rushing at Marisol, Hector and Oscar’s brother, and he quickly dispatches them with a shotgun, sending them flying. The three go back to the front door of the house and see the gang banger friend dead of multiple stab wounds, and the front door open. After they go inside Hector, who has the camera, gets separated from the rest of them. Now starts a scary chase scene where women, and possibly Jesse, try and get Hector and he runs screaming from room to room. Then Marisol’s body comes crashing down through a skylight.
As Hector runs from forces seen and unseen, he somehow winds up inside a house that looks very normal, yet dark, and suddenly Katie Rey, the girl from the first Paranormal Activity, comes walking into the kitchen in a trance. Hector tries to get her attention for some help, and she starts screaming “Micah! Micah!” As you might remember, Micah is the name of the guy who lived with Katie in the first Paranormal Activity movie. When Micah arrives Katie begins stabbing him repeatedly, presumably killing him. Hector then runs into the living room, recognizable as the room where others have died in the series, and is suddenly and abruptly overcome and killed by scary witch forces, leaving the camera still on the ground. Then, as a parting shot, we see a white haired witch woman look into the camera, and punch the off switch.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones takes on it’s own story of demonic possession and witchcraft, yet clearly fits itself into the PA narrative through the use of sets and characters that are familiar. The ending is kind of like a trip through time, starting in a deserted house that has sheets all over the furniture and ending with a lived-in house that is the home, or potentially hellish resting place, of Katie and Micah from the first PA. One of the results of this additional narrative is to move the scourge of demons and witches away from being unique to Katie and Kristi’s family, and potentially having demon boys all over the world who were possessed while in the womb. How this narrative will be incorporated into the upcoming Paranormal Activity 5 is anybody’s guess, but we will find that out in October, 2014.
One of our great readers made the following comment:
“The majority of this was pretty accurate- however, you forgot to mention that when Hector was in the bedroom of the grandmothers house (as Jesse was trying to break in), Hector saw the door from Anna’s notebook that they had recovered from her apartment. The door allowed him to travel in time, but to only unholy places, such as the house where the first Paranormal Activity took place. Other than that detail, i think you covered the summary pretty well. It was a great movie!”
This is exactly right, and it clears up the fact that I was unclear how Hector ended up in the house from the first PA. One of the items retrieved from Anna’s apartment when the trio broke in there after the murder was a notebook, and in it they saw some uses of the symbol that was painted on women to mark their children, but there was also a mention of a door that would allow time travel, but only to unholy places. This is how Hector arrived at the house with Katie and Micah – Hector went through that door and the unholy place was the home of Katie and Micah from the first PA. I want to watch the first PA again to get a refresher on how that one ended, because it will be very interesting if this is an attempt to explain the ending from that first one by now revealing that it was Hector in the house who confronted Katie in a trace, and that Hector witnessed a possessed Katie killing Micah – didn’t she come back to the camera in the first one with blood on her? I don’t remember now… but will watch the first again to get a better idea. Thank you reader, for the important detail! I would credit you directly if I had your name.
Vocabulary for Paranormal Activity:
1. Poltergeist: a supposed supernatural spirit that reveals its presence by creating disturbances, for example, by knocking over objects.
1. Ghost: the spirit of somebody who has died, supposed to appear as a shadowy form or to cause sounds, the movement of objects, or a frightening atmosphere in a place.
1. Spirit: a vital force that characterizes a living being as being alive; a supernatural being that does not have a physical body, for example, a ghost, fairy, angel, or demon
1. Demon: an evil supernatural being such as a ghost or spirit.
1. Angel: a divine being who acts as a messenger of God.
1. Soul: the complex of human attributes that manifests as consciousness, thought, feeling, and will, regarded as distinct from the physical body.
1. Haunt: to frequent a place or appear to somebody in the form of a ghost or other supposed supernatural being.
1. Haunted: inhabited by or visited regularly by a ghost or other supposed supernatural being.
1. Supernatural: relating or attributed to phenomena that cannot be explained natural laws.
1. Tract House: one of many similar houses built on a tract of land.
1. Suburb: a district, especially a residential one, on the edge of a city or large town.
1. Bedroom Community: a town or suburb inhabited mainly by people who travel to work in a nearby city.
1. Mass Media: all of the communications media that reach a large audience, especially television, radio, and newspapers.
1. Television: an electronic device for receiving and reproducing the images and sounds of a television signal.
1. Consumer: somebody or something that consumes something, by eating it, drinking it, or using it up.
1. Materialism: devotion to material wealth and possessions at the expense of spiritual or intellectual values.
1. Limbo: a state in which somebody or something is neglected or is simply left in oblivion.
1. Afterlife: a form of existence believed to continue after death.
1. Heaven: a place or condition of supreme happiness and peace where good people are believed to go after death, and, especially in Christianity, the dwelling place of God and the angels.
1. Hell: according to many religions, the place where the souls of people who are damned suffer eternal punishment after death.
1. Desecrate: to damage something sacred, or do something that is offensive to the religious nature of something.
1. Repression: in Freudian psychology, a mechanism by which individuals protect themselves from threatening thoughts by blocking them out of the conscious mind.
1. Exorcism: the use of prayer or religious ritual to drive out evil spirits.
1. Nuclear Family: a social unit that consists of a mother, a father, and their children.
1. Paternity: descent from the father.
1. Patriarchy: a social system in which men are regarded as the authority within the family and society, and in which power and possessions are passed on from father to son.
1. Parricide: the murder of a parent or closer elative.
1. Zombie Bank: a financial institution that has an economic net worth less than zero but continues to operate because its ability to repay its debts is shored up by implicit or explicit government credit support.
1. Zombie Company: a media term for a company that needs constant bailouts in order to operate
1. Toxic Assets: is a popular term for certain financial assets whose value has fallen significantly and for which there is no longer a functioning market, so that such assets cannot be sold at a price satisfactory to the holder
Questions for Paranormal Activity:
1) In P1, what exactly does the demon want from Katie? Does it ultimately get what it wants?
2) Why is Micah such a big jerk in Paranormal Activity? Why doesn’t Katie just leave him for a better choice in boyfriends?
3) Why does Katie allow Micah to film her in the bathroom when it’s clear that the demon lives in the attic? Why doesn’t Micah put the cameral in the attic after discovering that’s where the demon lives?
4) Why don’t Katie and Micah just leave their home after the demon starts bothering them? I know the psychic said that it wouldn’t do any good, but he also states that he’s not an expert on demons. Shouldn’t they at least check out into a hotel and see if it confuses the demon?
5) What does the demon communicate through the Ouija board? Is fire itself a form of communication?
6) Who edits the many hours of video footage that Micah shoots, and then puts it back together to form the film itself?
7) For crying out loud, why don’t they call the police? Or the FBI or CIA? I assume that either one of those agencies would love to investigate the presence of a demon on U.S. soil!
Questions for Paranormal Activity 3:
1) What does the demon want with Kristi? Does he ultimately get what he wants?
2) Who is Dennis, and what does he do for a living, and why is that important? Why isn’t he married to Julie, after all, he does film weddings for a living?
3) Who is Toby, and why does he like to play tricks on Julie, Dennis, and Katie?
4) Why does he bite Randi after he plays Bloody Mary in the bathroom with Katie?
5) Where is Katie’s and Kristi’s biological father? Why doesn’t he ever even call his two daughters?
6) Who is Grandma Lois, and why does she want her daughter to have a son?
7) Why does Grandma Lois allow Toby to kill her daughter and marry her granddaughter?
8) Why does Toby stalk the babysitter? Why does he put on the sheet? Why is he only about three feet tall after Kristi describes him as being “very tall?”
9) How come Katie can’t remember any of this happening in her childhood in the first Paranormal Acitvity?