Last night my friend Andrea and I went to see the movie Paranormal Activity. It was the scariest movie I ever saw. I watched the final scenes while peering through my fingers as I held my hands over my face. It's like I was fending off a looming physical threat, protecting my psyche with my hands.
I thought Paranormal Activity was going to be a ghost movie. It's actually about a demon. You can think of the movie as a cross between Blair Witch and The Exorcist. It's like Blair Witch in that it is a low budget independent film that uses a first person style. That is, the filming is done by the people in the movie. We, as viewers, watch the recovered film left behind. Paranormal Activity is like The Exorcist in that the film is rooted in one location, a house, with most of the action occurring in a bedroom. And, like The Exorcist, the issue is a girl and a demonic possession (or haunting).
It was a very effective film. Andrea and I were both pretty freaked out. On the way home she asked me, "Why do people like going to scary movies?" I didn't have a great answer. The two I floated were:
- Physiological: We like physiological arousal. So we ski, ride rollercoasters, drive fast, take risks gambling and go to suspenseful or scary movies.
- Psychodynamic: We like to confront death or the uncanny. We like to confront and process our fears.