Pretty Normal Activity

With the success of the ultra-low-budget ghost flick, Paranormal Activity (US-2007; dir. Oren Peli), it’s perhaps only to be expected that others would attempt to leap on the bandwagon. Infamous bandwagon leapers, The Asylum — known for producing cheap “spin-offs” of blockbuster films, so how could they possibly resist a cheap spin-off of an already cheap blockbuster — have announced the imminent 22 December release of Paranormal Entity on DVD.


Looking like a cross between Paranormal Activity and the Spanish found-footage zombiesque flick [Rec] (France-2007; dir. Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza), Paranormal Entity is being presented as genuine footage of a murder — a murder that was, in “reality”, the result of a supernatural incursion:

Actual footage of the events leading to the 2008 “murder” of Samantha Finley. This DVD, released against the wishes of the authorities, proves that nothing human caused Samantha’s death.



On The Asylum’s blog, the pseudo-reality backstory is being maintained — on the off-chance that there are those out there who never realised that The Blair Witch Project was a fake. They’ve even gone so far as to avoid listing credits for director, writer and actors on the website. That’s okay. The whole [for me, largely unwatchable] found-footage schtick has become a subgenre unto itself and in many ways whether we believe it or not is irrelevant. To pretend that it’s all real is just part of the subgenre’s aesthetic — and sometimes this results in the creation of advertising collateral that is more interesting than the film itself. Will that happen here? Who knows?

There’s been some comment on the internet about our release called Paranormal Entity and why is hasn’t been posted on our website until now.

This has been a sensitive issue for all of us:

A few weeks ago we were approached by surviving members of the Finley family who asked us to release never-before-seen home video footage shot by Thomas Finley, who was accused of murdering his sister, Samantha in 2008, and who later took his own life in prison.

The family has always maintained that Thom was innocent of the crime and that Samantha’s tragic death was not caused by anything human. (Asylum blog)


Addendum: The Trailer:


Source: The Asylum website via Avery; Trailer via Quiet Earth

This entry was posted in Film, Fraudulent information, Ghosts, News. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Pretty Normal Activity

  1. Jeff R says:

    The Big A were a bit slow on this one, but then who would have thought “Paranormal Activity” would become an International hit.

    Surprisingly this will be the second possession movie out of the Asylum following the non -award wining “Exorcism: The Possession of Gail Bowers” that had nothing to do with another movie released at the same time.

    Dialling into this one Rob?

  2. Robert Hood says:

    I have big trouble with the found footage subgenre generally. All that uncontrolled camera movement gives me a headache and makes me sick. I only made it through “Blair Witch” by looking away from the screen all the time, which rather destroyed the ambiance. “Cloverfield” was OK, because Abrams is a better filmmaker and controlled the rhythm of the camera; I still felt a bit off by the end though. Recently tried to watch “The Zombie Diaries”, but haven’t been able to get very far. Like, ten minutes at a time. Romero’s “Diary of the Dead” is filmed properly so that was no worries. I saw “Paranormal Activity” at the cinema during the Sydney Film Festival earlier this year and it was touch and go, but I made it through because of the rhythm of stillness generated by the fact that the camera is regularly placed on a tripod during the night-time, bedroom scenes. In short, I wish the bottom would fall out of the subgenre — or that only experienced filmmakers would use the technique. I’ll probably give the Asylum’s effort a go, but I’m not hopeful.

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  4. Jeff R says:

    Strangely I thought “Paranormal Activity” has been the best of breed thus far, mainly I guess because it’s hitting my catholic upbringing phobias with a sledgehammer.

    I couldn’t stand Heather in BWP so wasn’t into that movie, thought Cloverfield was just another Hollywood release, but did enjoy Romero’s movie.

    Like you I’m kind of hoping the technique drops off the radar in due course as am just waiting on the 101 attempts to dial into it by various studios.

    • Robert Hood says:

      Well, I liked “Cloverfield” even though it had no real plot, because I felt it really conveyed the EXPERIENCE of being caught up in a giant monster attack. I enjoyed “Paranormal Activity”, and for similar experiential reasons, though I didn’t really feel that it did much beyond being creepy. Again, not much happens. Still, what saved it for me was the great job the actors did. I believed in them as ordinary people and cared about their fate. Nice scare at the end, too — though I heard the ending has been changed since I saw it.

  5. Avery says:

    Gee…guys I dunno…maybe this is sort of a “my generation” sort of thingy. I actually like these types of found footage flicks, but only to an extent. I think it’s too easy to go into overkill with the technique. I actually loved “The Blair Witch” and “Cloverfield” but just wasn’t all that impressed with “Paranormal Activity” and “Dairy Of The Dead” was just OK to me. I even liked Asylum’s “Monster” as just like “Cloverfield” it made you feel like you were actually in the middle of a real giant monster attack…although other than that the film was terribly flawed.

    • Robert Hood says:

      I might like them if I could watch them, but they literally make me sick. I never used to get motion-sick, but these films are doing it to me. That makes it physically impossible for me to watch them properly — I’d have to do it in short bursts, which for the development of atmosphere or suspense is useless. Some of them (“The Zombie Diaries” is a good example) has so far abandoned the appearance of artistry that they seem to have little planning in the actual cinematography beyond giving someone a camera and saying, “Run around and film stuff”. It’s supposed to replicate what we see when we’re looking through our own eyes, but really it doesn’t do that, because normally our brain compensates. This is further removed and my eyes just aren’t coping. Meanwhile most of them also abandon plot and that gets dull after a while. I want stories.

      But I can’t watch 3D with the green/red glasses either — it just looks like watching the film through a blurry mud-smeared window. I think my eyes aren’t balanced right. I must ask my optometrist about it.

  6. steven says:

    This movie is truly a “fake” the main actress is erin marie hogan who is scheduled to appear in future movies

  7. Robert Hood says:

    Of course it is, steven. I don’t think anyone is really going to be fooled — at least no one who is thinking straight. The pretense of it being “real” is just part of the genre.

  8. Daniela says:

    I watched this movie, and i did some web research on it and let me just state that this was no fake… it was VERY unfortunate what had occurred durring that month. i wish the Remaining finley family nothing but the best, OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH THEM ALL!!!

    • Robert Hood says:

      Oh, come on, Daniela. Innocence is one thing but gulliblity is another. The film is an obvious fiction. It was written by the director. The people in it are all actors, with careers that go back a decade or so. Check the IMDb if you doubt it.

      They are playing people who may or may not have been real, but the footage is “fake” (that is, it’s a movie made by The Asylum). With a script and a technical crew.

      All the “real-world” stuff is artistic pretense.

  9. james keefe says:

    was this based on true events or acusations? i mean i know there was several different actors and actress’ that were in the movie but other than trying to make a “spin-off” whats the purpose of this movie i just want to know if there was say another family name that they are not allowing the public to gain knowledge to and they based it off of their events or if it is a true “spin-off” it wouldnt suprise me if it was i mean we the public get lies and falsificated info all the time whats new

    • Robert Hood says:

      Not so much lies and falsification, James, as using a quite common and traditional literary technique — pretending that the story you are telling is made up of “found materials”. Other examples in film are “The Blair Witch Project”, “Cloverfield”, “[Rec]”, “Diary of the Dead”, “Paranormal Activity” itself (the “inspiration” for this one), and the much older “The Norliss Tapes” and even “The Hellstrom Chronicles” (1971). But novels have done the same thing since the beginning. Samuel Richardson’s “Pamela” pretends to be the diary of the main character. Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” even did the same thing.

  10. Daniel says:

    I’m telling you Paranormal Entity did scare me while watching it in the dark all alone but was then disappointed at the end when it said it was fictitious. I gre up in a house where cabinet doors opened and slammed shut, you’d hear your name being called, the dog would pee himself everytime he passed the cellar. There was a lot that happened on the land the house was built on before we movied there. Then i had the luck of moving to brazil, voodoo paradise, where my grandmother and her daughters practiced witchcraft. Then bought a house in NY with shadow people and voices. So things like this led me to move away from my family, and rent an apartment in TX. I hope the finding out this is fake doesn’t lead people to believe hauntings don’t happen. They do. by the way, Seeing that one of the cast members appeared on Titanic kind of gave it away.

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