Found Footage Movies

Today is a great day for fans of lights going on and off and stationary webcam footage, for today is the day that the trailer for the new Paranormal Activity has dropped. If you remember, last year, directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman went retro and took the series back to the boxy camcorder days of the ’80s, which was a fun way to add some zest to the experience of thinking that you might have seen something move over there in the background for a minute, but then it was gone. Well, this year they’re back in the saddle, directing Paranormal Activity 4, and it turns out they’ve found yet another way to spice up amateur looking footage that leads up to a figure standing behind the main character and then a fade to black: they’ve added video chat. Yes, Paranormal Activity 4 takes the story of haunted sisters Kristi and Katie and brings it back into today’s world. This time around, the remaining family members seem to have moved next door to a teenage girl or something, and also there’s a kid who has electro powers like Powder…but none of that is really important. The Paranormal Activity movies aren’t so much traditional storytelling as they are the crafting of an experience. It’s all about sitting on the edge of your seat, never knowing when something freaky is going to happen next, and then screaming your lungs out when something suddenly does.

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Bryan Bertino crafted a fantastic home invasion flick with The Strangers. It was environmental and terrifying, but it also seemed fresh while playing off of old standbys in the genre. Now, he’ll be joining the handful of directors attempting to breathe life into Found Fauxtage. According to Shock Till You Drop, the writer/director has sold his script for Mockingbird to Universal. The film will focus on a couple that receives a package containing instructions that, if not followed, will yield some bloody results. Also in the package? A camera. Because you can’t have Found Fauxtage without one. It’s an interesting, game-like premise that absolutely has potential, but it’s just great to Bertino getting another project off the ground after the hellish development of The Strangers 2, which will probably not be made at this point. Interestingly, this announcement comes right around the same time that Universal dropped its Stretch Armstrong remake with Taylor Lautner slated to star. In a craven world of giant tentpoles, a movie based off a toy with built-in awareness and a Twilight star just got axed while an original script with a curious premise got picked up. Maybe the tide is turning after all. At least at Universal.

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Recently, Paramount sent around one of those pat-yourself-on-the-back sorts of press releases announcing that they made more money worldwide than any other studio last year. Of course, not one to dwell too long in the past, they also managed to slip in a little paragraph bragging about how good their upcoming 2012 looks as well: “In 2012, Paramount’s release slate highlights include World War Z, a zombie thriller starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the next installment in the global franchise starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Channing Tatum, a new chapter in the Paranormal Activity franchise, and The Dictator, starring Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Larry Charles, the team behind Borat.” The interesting part of this paragraph is that, in addition to mentioning a bunch of high profile projects that we already knew about, the studio is also claiming that they have another Paranormal Activity movie in the works, which is news. All of these other movies are in various stages of post-production, but Paranormal Activity 4 is naught but a glimmer in some profit-minded executive’s eye.

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