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Paranormal Activity


  • Festival Version
  • Theatrical Version
Release: Dec 23, 2009 - Author: VideoRaider - Translator: Gladion - external link: IMDB
I. Introduction

„They’re using the movie to sell the movie. You bring it home to yourself,
instead of feeling that it’s being pushed on you.“

- Jason Blum, producer of „Paranormal Activity“.

Thinking that the general movie fan has already seen all of the modern media phenomena in the year 2009, Oren Peli's "Paranormal Activity" knew how to disabuse. Young junior directors took several paths to call attention to their first works. Peter Jackson directly marched to Cannes with his first film "Bad Taste" (and the massive support of the New Zealand film commission), whereas Robert Rodriguez after all made it to the exclusive floor of Columbia Pictures with "El Mariachi", who, as a result, marketed his work. Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" took a harder road - the road over countless film festivals, while Kevin Smith's "Clerks" was fine with the Sundance Film Festival alone. In the year 2009, young filmmakers can take another path, namely presenting their works to the whole world via the net - or at least marketing it. Oren Peli intendedly/unintentionally went such a way.

His 15,000 Dollar movie just wouldn't fascinate in the beginning. The success failed to appear for a very long time. "Paranormal Activity" is no new movie - but was released as early as 2007. Its original premiere was on the Screamfest Film Festival, where it was recieved extraordinarily well. Peli manufactured countless DVD-Screeners which he distributed on festivals and sent to several studios - the film was occasionally even uploaded on the web, admittedly without official permission by Peli, but this founded the intrinsical cult about the movie, which would carry it to the top of the box-office in the end.

While particularly users of pertinently famous horror-forums continued to report more and more about "Paranormal Activity" , it was Steven Spielberg himself who attended to the publication of the film. Rather by chance, he got hands on a DVD-Screener and was so impressed by the flick that he proposed Paramount to release the film. There was even a complete remake planned in the beginning, because, de facto, the movie already was publically available. After a test screening, it was decided to release the original film, though, and to make a few alterations to it. Thus, some sound effects were either amplified or weakened, several scenes added, existing scenes shortened (the theatrical version is about seven minutes shorter than the festival cut) and the entire ending was shot again.

In the end, this theatrical cut grossed 107 million Dollars - Paramount acquired the rights for the film for mere 300,000 Dollars. Of course, including the complete marketing rights and sequels, since Paramount is already planning those. Also, the unique success - especially enabled through the internet-community - opened completely new dimensions to Paramount. Probably for the first time, a filmmaking company discovered the true potential of modern media. Instead of condemning them, they incorporated them into the marketing process and even rewarded the fans, who advertised the movie the most, with a mention in the credits. Of course, Paramount was completely aware of this advertisement mostly being based on the DVD-Screeners, but Peli's courageous pre-release was the very reason for its success today to begin with. If you want to get technical, Steven Spielberg would have probably never even laid his eyes on the film if Peli's DVD-Screener hadn't been redistributed.

Due to the success and the positive marketing-campaign, Paramount already announced producing several independent films with a budget of each 100,000 Dollars and incorporating the internet community similarly to "Paranormal Activity" again.

II.Cut report

The festival version from 2007 has been compared to the Theatrical Cut from 2009, released on DVD and Blu-Ray by Paramount Pictures.

Festival version

Length: 97 minutes
Rated: -

Theatrical version

Length: 87 Minutes
Rated: R

II. a) Cuts and new/alternate scenes
Surprisingly, the theatrical version is shorter. Numerous little plot cuts were made, but scenes were added or completely new shot and arranged, too.

II. b) Audiodifferences
Since the demon, which haunts Micah and Katie shows almost no visual presence, the horror is spread mostly auditory. To enhance this horror and especially the shocks, numerous auditory changes have been made.
0:00.00 | Image change (identical in content)
The introduction text was changed for the theatrical version.

Festival version:

„The producers would like to thank the families of Micah S. and Katie F. and the Rancho Penasquitos Police Department for providing this footage.“

Theatrical version:

„Paramount Pictures would like to thank the families of Mica Sloat & Katie Featherstone and the San Diego Police Department.“

no time difference

0:00.17 | Sound change
The music of the thrash metal band was replaced with a rock song.

no time difference

0:06.43 | Image change (identical in context)
An alternative shot of Micah building up the camera tripod.

no time difference

0:08.28 | Image change (identical in context)
The fade-in „Night #1 September 18th, 2006“ takes place a little later, also, as mentioned in the introduction, the image was changed color-wise, and the time code was rearranged, too.

no time difference

0:08.57 | Sound change
The demon's walking sounds have been reinforced, the sound of Katie's dropping bowls as well as a threatening active bass-whirring have been added.

no time difference

0:09.38 | New scene
Micah works on his camera while Katie asks him what he'd like to have for breakfast. In the kitchen, she notices the front door key has fallen down. She calls Micah.

44 Sec.

Katie: „What do you want for breakfast?“
Micah: „I don’ What the hell...“
Katie: „Whatever is no anwer. How about scrambled eggs?“
Micah: „Yeah, sounds pretty good...“
Katie: „Yeah, okay.“

Katie: „Hey!“
Micah: „What?“
Katie: „Did you put my keys on the floor?“
Micah: „Hold on.“
Katie: „My keys are in the middle of the floor.“

Katie: „I just came across of my keys.“
Micah: „What? Where did you leave them?“
Katie: „I left them on the counter.“
Micah: „Are you sure?“
Katie: „Yes, they are always lying on the same spot next to your wallet.“
Micah: „Well, obvisiouly, this is incontrovertible evidence that evil froces came from the grave to move your keys.“
Katie: „Make your breakfast...“

0:22.04 | New scene
A new scene has been added: Micah and Katie go to bed and - contrary to common suspections - lead a regular sex life.

22 Sec.

Katie: „Come to bed...“
Micah: „Oh, I will! Let me turn this ten!“
Katie: „Whoa...what? Excuse me!“
Micah: „What?“
Katie: „The camera is not off!“
Micah: „It’s off! That’s the stand-by-light.“
Katie: „No, it’s not the stand-by-light. It’s the record light!!“
Micah: „Alright...“

Micah: „I think, that was probally illegal in Kentucky and several others states. That girl is wild.“

0:22.12 | Image change (identical in context)
The fade-in „Night #3 September 20th, 2006“ takes place a little later, and, as mentioned in the introduction, the image was altered color-wise and the timecode has been rearranged.

no time difference

0:22.41 | Sound change
The door sounds have been reinforced, and a threatening active bass-whirring has been added.

no time difference

1:19.38 | Image change (identical in context)
An alternative shot of Micah paging through the book.

no time difference

0:30.06 | Sound change
A threatening active and continuingly stronger getting bass-whirring has been added.

no time difference

0:30.49 | Sound change
A knocking sound of the demon has been reinforced.

no time difference

0:36.50 | Sound change
The screaming with the subsequent punching sound of the demon as been reinforced massively.

no time difference

0:38.21 | New scene
Micah checks the floor again.

6 Sec.

0:41.35 | Sound change
As Micah tried to record sounds of the demon during daytime with a microphone, the bass-whirring during his question whether he should ask an Oujia-board has been reinforced massively.

no time difference

0:42.57 | Sound change
As Katie is somnambulating and motionlessly is standing in front of the bed, a strong bass-whirring has been added.

no time difference

0:46.28 | Sound change
The TV set's sudden turning-on has been edited auditorily - also, a strong rustling coming from the TV can be heard now.

no time difference

0:55.26 | Image change (identical in context)
A timecode was added to the picture.

no time difference

1:01.28 | Sound change
The demon's stomping sounds have been reinforced resp. slightly altered.

no time difference

1:09.55 | New scene
To slow down the tension buildup, the scene during the 18th night has been prolonged in the beginning. Thus, the fade-in "Night #18 October 5th, 2006" starts earlier.

7 Sec.

1:10.02 | Image change (identical in context)
The demon now not only ambulates in the living room now, but also turns on the light before slamming the door.

no time difference

1:10.31 | Sound change
The demon's screaming and door-banging has been reinforced massively.

no time difference

1:11.45 | Sound change
The anew door-banging has distinctly been reinforced.

no time difference

1:12.35 | Sound change
As Micah and Katie scaredly go to the ground floor, completely new sounds of the demon have been implemented.

no time difference

1:12.35 | Sound change
As Micah and Katie have breakfast, they suddenly hear a loud bang. They both run upstairs and examine the entire upper floor. There, they notice Micah's face on a mutual photograph having been clawed. As Micah sways the camera to Katie, she clearly senses the demon's presence - he is standing next to her, gliding through her hair. She terrifiedly runs away, but Micah stays undeterred and searches the upper floor for more clues.

[A loud bang sounds.]
Micah: „What the fuck is that?“
[Both run to the upper floor.]
Micah: „I check the merits!“
[Micah searches the upper floor.]
Katie: „Our picture!“
Micah: „What picture?“
Katie: „There, look!“

Micah: „Fuck! What the hell... How come my face is scrachted and yours isn’t?“
[Katie notices the demon's presence.]
Micah: „I check the merits!“
[Micah searches the upper floor.]

Katie: „Something’s here...“
[Micah continues to look at the picture.]
Micah: „It’s bullshit!“
Katie: „It’s here...“
Micah: „What’s here? What? What are you talking about?“
Katie: „Oh, no... I feel it. I feel the breathing on me...“
[Katie frantically runs down the steps.]

Katie: „Micah! Come on! Micah! PLEASE!“
[Micah stays upstairs, looks for more clues.]
Micah: „Fuck me, man...!“
Katie: „Babe! You have to come downstairs! Come on!“
[Micah runs down.]
Micah: „Did this shit happen in the daytime before?“
Katie: „It’s gonna be worse...“
Micah: „Fuck...“

106 Sec.

1:16.07 | New scene
The psychic tells Micah and Katie that he has to leave the house and that they should call the demonologist immediatly.

14 Sec.

1:17.34 | New scene
To slow down the tension buildup, the scene of the 19th night has been prolonged. Thus, the fade-in „Night #19 October 6th, 2006“ starts earlier.
11 Sec.

1:17.37 | Change of sound
Knocking- and walkingsounds of the demon have been added.

no time difference

1:17.59 | Sound change
The demon whispers Katie's name.

no time difference

1:17.34 | New scene
The demon not only stirs up the blanket but now - successlessly - slightly pulls Katie's foot. A small preparation to the subsequent night-scene. The old material has been prolonged for that.

8 Sec.

1:18.13 | Sound change
Knocking and walking sounds, as well as the demon's whispering have been removed from the theatrical version and replaced with a reinforced bass-whirring.

no time difference

1:18.48 | Sound change
The demon's grasping sound, to wake up Katie, has been reinforced.

no time difference

1:19.38 | Image change (identical in context)
An alternative shot of Micah and Katie deciding to call the demonologist.

no time difference

1:21.58 | Image change (identical in context)
The online-video of possessed Diane has been strongly darkened and edited for the theatrical version.

no time difference

1:18.49 | Sound change
Katie's voice has been slightly altered so it gets clear she is already possessed.

no time difference

1:24.58 | New scene
The theatrical version's ending has been reworked completely. Katie, already possessed by the demon, now wanders to Micah and looks at him for several hours. Then she leaves the room, goes downstairs and screams. Micah wakes up, wants to help Katie but gets murdered. Possessed Katie slowly goes back to the bedroom and throws Micah's lifeless body at the camera. Then she smells at it, stiffly looks into the lens - until her face mutates into a demon's grimace and dashes at the camera.

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