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effective and affecting. but then, i spose for a horror that's the goal, so it should be classed as good.
watched it last night in the early hours on my own in a dark house and completely lost it. hands over the eyes and everything like an 8 year old girl watching doctor who.
there's just something awful and chilling about it's moments of suspense that's almost ineffible...just....i can't explain why it gave me the chills so much. i think a big reason is the fact that all the scary events are seen with a static camera. the image never moves and so the viewer is forced to watch events as they happen, wheras most of the time we are given the mercy of an edit, no matter how unobstructive it would appear to be to the action. in the age of 'fucking the screen' by Bay et al. and thousands of videos at our fingertips and hyper text all over the shop and the general cut up nature of all information, it probably taps into our generations unfamiliarity with having to just sit and watch a single fixed angle...only one perspective on view and being told we must sit and watch no matter what happens, there will be no change or respite. maybe. i think there definitly is a generational divide with this film.
so instead of going...'hhmm..yuh, well, y'know, it's not actually about demons, yuh, it's really a film about relationships'......i could say..'well, y'know, it's not actually a film about demons or relationships, it's really a film about a specific generations attachment to a constant stream of broken narrative hyper-texts and the fear and feeling of otherness that comes when there is only one visual option available and set for consumption no matter what...yuh...'.
or is that all just more bollocks?
I would agree entirely. We've come to depend on shaky-cam when we need to know a scene is unstable psychologically, philosophically, etc, we've come to rely on rapid editing when we need to know a scene is violent, so on and so forth.
That's why The Dark Knight is so great. The camera technique is near-perfect in that film, no rapid cuts, no unnecessary hand-held shit, it just tells the story with style.
I think it's the Dogme 95 mentality, and this silly film school idea of "authenticity" which makes it difficult if not impossible to find a movie which doesn't rely on shaking the camera to achieve unease, chaos, etc, and to cover up the deficiency of character, story, dialogue, etc. I hope the verite style, queasycam as it were, dies a painful, painful death.
makes you remember that...y'know...like...it's the cinema and the whole point is to WATCH shit.
try and see a film called in the city of sylvia is you haven't before...it's like a hymn to just actually watching...like some sort of lovely antidote to the monster Bay.
while having some of that handheld stuff also uses long, long single shots brilliantly. It's almost like a ballet of violence, different strands weaving in and out of the same shot. Fantastically immersive stuff.
are nigh unwatchable because the camera is constantly shaking, zooming in and out, using whipcrack cuts...it like watching your dad's ringside recording of a boxing match. Terrible.
The fact that some schools are now making rules forbidding the use of static angles and tripods on student projects is a fucking travesty, quite frankly.
i supposse saving private ryan is to blame for all this...action sequences changed forever after the d-day landings.....but i still think that's done brilliantly,..but y'know...i spose everything good will always be stretched until it breaks in some cases. feels so weired now to watch an action film with a fixed perspective and no stuttering, jerking frame fucks.
Shane Meadows started his own Dogme 95-aping project and one of his rules were handheld cameras only, which I thought went against his staunch individualist ethos.
usual mildly entertaining horror twaddle
but it was pretty 'creepy' and had a good sense of building tension transforming into spooky silliness.
to which you can draw considerable parallels, I thought it didn't work as well.
In BW you were taken into the unknown - not that many people spend several nights in a deserted wood full of unfamiliar sounds etc. However, we all are used to houses and therefore find it more difficult to suspend our disbelief when it comes to something scary and (necessarily) unrealistic happening in this setting. So it's more obviously a work of fiction and thus less engaging and resultingly less scary.
I guess the same approach could be used to show that this makes it more scary, but i don't think it worked like that in this example.
the fact I'm pretty unlikely to go camping in the woods means it didn't really scare me but I do have a loft hatch I walk past regularly and so can relate to it a bit more.
but I think they somehow missed in realising this in PA, whereas BW has pretty much shit me up whenever i'm in the woods in some remote place from dusk onwards...
It did a tremendous job of building increadible amounts of tension, but it didn't really do anything with it, or go anywhere. And in the end I was scoffing having been trembling at the beginning
It's one of the few horror films I've ever seen that has properly shit me up. I found it a great deal more affecting than Blair Witch, for reasons commandercool and jacques_le_biscuit_ touched on above.
While BW was very cleverly done and great in it's own way, I didn't find it all that scary. After having seen PA, it occurred to me why: it didn't appeal to me on an everyday level, it still fell into that category of scary but not real, thus not really that scary. Probably because I don't spend that much time wandering around in the woods like an idiot. It's the same reason a lot of the classic 80s horror flicks never scared me much (though I still enjoy them), because I'm not a drunken frat boy / spotty nerd who hangs out in log cabins / abandoned factories etc etc.
Where PA succeeded was in totally invading my sense of being 'safely at home', so that I felt totally immersed in the events unfolding and the feelings of terror stayed with me after the film finished. For example, (((SPOILER))) the part where the demon turns up in the daytime and sniffs her hair: how often do you come across a daytime haunting? It completely destroys any notion of everything being OK when it's not dark.
The fixed camera work, as someone else pointed out, was it's other touch of genius because it was so horribly real. The wobbly-cam method is visually exciting maybe but doesn't permit any real empathy in the viewer. The part at the end where Katie ((((SPOILER)))) wanders off downstairs and starts screaming her head off were particularly terrifying, because all you can do is sit and watch helplessly, your mind filling with all sorts of ideas about what's going on off-camera. Also some of the most convincing screaming I've ever heard in a film, that was amazing in itself.
It's a great film because it feels so utterly real, even when the most unreal things are happening. Maybe that says more about me than anything else: that I spend quite a lot of time at home staring at screens. If you're that kind of person, it will probably appeal to you. I recommend watching it alone, in the dark, with the volume up.