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Paranormal similarity?

10.22.2009

The low-cost spooker PARANORMAL ACTIVITY has proven to be quite a phenomenon. And while I haven't had a chance to see it yet myself, I couldn't help but notice it seems to bear some resemblance to a movie I did see several years ago -- another little household horror indie called IN MEMORIUM.

Made in 2005 by filmmaker Amanda Gusack (who went on to MGM's recent DVD thriller THE BETRAYED, starring Melissa George and Oded Fehr), IN MEMORIUM also took the DIY approach to the premise of capturing the domestic supernatural on camera.

Although its similarities to IN MEMORIUM are probably just a casualty of the collective unconscious, PARANOMAL ACTIVITY had the fortune of finding a considerable audience, while Gusack's film made the festival rounds but remains without distribution. Perhaps that will change in the wake of PA's success, since there's clearly a market for it.

I reviewed the movie for another online outlet a few years back, and I've reposted it below. You can also check out the IN MEMORIUM trailer down there, see some clips over at B-D, and learn more about the film at the official site.

When aspiring filmmaker Dennis (Erik McDowell) is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides to leave his legacy in filmed format. Along with girlfriend Lily (Johanna Watts), he rents a small house and wires it with microphones and motion-activated cameras to keep a grim record of his final weeks as he withers away. But the footage isn't exactly what Dennis had hoped for as an unwanted tenant from the afterlife has decided to make a guest appearance in his documentary, causing his illness to accelerate and making his remaining days a literal nightmare.

The faux-documentary approach has become a customary method of circumventing budgetary issues for independent, low-tech filmmakers, but it's not often nearly as effective as writer-director Amanda Gusack's morbid and creepy horror film IN MEMORIUM. Gusack's actors do a convincing job of being utterly terrified by the proceedings, and perhaps more importantly, they feel like an organic couple who would subject themselves to such a morose notion as filming one's eventual demise (Watts' fondness for wearing baby-Ts around the home certainly doesn't hinder the film's watchability).

There's no musical score, only the ambient sounds of creaks and chilling groans, while the unwelcome spirit is only glimpsed through shadows and freaky static-filled video, all with rather unnerving success -- I started watching the movie at 10pm one night and truly regretted it after the lights were turned off. For many horror fans, that's as sincere an endorsement as you'll find.

Source: JoBlo

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