275 Days to go

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

I think about horror/scary stuff a lot and when I was finally watching Paranormal Activity 3 yesterday, I found out that some of my ideas at least were right.

To be frank I’m not crazy about horror movies. I think they are notoriously tough to get right. That’s why most movies stay within the confines of “here’s some young kids and now we’re going to watch them getting killed” stuff. Honestly, they weren’t scary when I was eleven so no need to talk about my feelings about them now. Essentially, when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all and it takes away the scare factor considerably. I believe most people would agree with me on this point. The fact that so many horror movies are event based rather than story based is hard to believe. Most of them try to scare the audience with all sorts of gimmicks but they lack the content. That’s why I like reading horror books. They are far more scary than all these stupid movies.

The first Paranormal Activity was an OK movie. Although vastly inferior to Blair Witch, it was interesting to watch at least. The second movie was inferior to the first one, but in my view it did expand the story nicely. Now, the third one is plain shit on all counts. I’m not reviewing the movie so don’t expect me to elaborate on my views.

I read a book The Road Less Traveled about 6 or 7 years ago. From what I remember, the first part was interesting to read but the rest of the book didn’t really interest me much. What really stuck me with that book was the author’s approach to our habits. In the book he talked about his competitive spirit and gave the example of a chess game he played with his son. During the course of the game he notices himself getting worked up. This insight leads him to acknowledge his competitive nature, how it served him in the past but also notices that he has to let go his competitive nature because it starts to get in the way of his life. I think that’s a really fantastic insight.

I think it’s the same with Paranormal Activity. The first movie was a found footage movie. In my view they executed the concept in a nice way. The second one was another found footage movie like the first. They incorporated security cameras in the mix and expanded the story, it was watchable. Now, the third one is still a found footage movie and basically, in my view, they’ve run out of gas (ideas) big time. (On many occasions I found myself thinking “why the fuck does this guy still has a camera in his hand?”.)

I think they needed to break away from the whole found footage thing because while that whole concept made the first movie the success it is, it really suffocated the third one to the point of being really unwatchable.

From a marketing/finance point of view of course it doesn’t make any sense to change that, so I doubt the fourth one will be any different.

On another note: Having watched the first 20 minutes of Kim’s Fairly Tale Wedding Part 2, I must say it lacks the drama of the first part.

One Response to 275 Days to go

  1. Reply Tim says:

    I actually like the PA movies – And think they get better in some regards. Those my views on film and games differ.

    Blair Witch was definitely good. The best aspect of it was that you never see anything. Weird things happen all around them but you never see the source. Their friend disappears and you never see him again – no clues as to where he went. The other friend facing the corner in the basement and then *whack*.

    In a gamer perspective some of this can work too. I remember in the first FEAR game, Jankowski disappears and the only times you see him are when Alma’s phantom of him appears. Other than that he’s just gone.

    From my experience though the best horror in games comes from when your mind does the work. If you embrace the game and put yourself in the characters shoes it’s much more engaging.

    I read the interview where you mentioned “the silent watcher” and I agree that it’s an excellent plot device. Even when you tell/hint that it’ll be in the game it’s still going to be a major asset simply because there are even more questions attached now.

    “What is watching me? Is it a ghost or physical being? Does it mean me harm or is it just watching? If it means me harm, how will it go about it? When will it go about it? Why hasn’t it made a move yet? What was that noise? RUN!”

    I do have a request though. If you’re going to have triggered events (i.e. lights flickering, doors closing, something falling off a shelf) can you make some form of harm pop out every so often? Just to remind us that we’re not alone. Nothing ruins a horror game more than getting comfortable that you can run past all the events and nothing happens. Even if it’s just once, we will then have to think “It happened before so it can happen again” as we spend 20 minutes hiding in a corner because the wind made the door move slightly.

    I do believe that you’ll be able to make it a good experience regardless and am looking forward to the upcoming development.

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