12th Aug2012

‘Supernatural Activity’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Andrew Pozza, Liddy Bisanz, Joey Oglesby, Donny Boaz, Devin Bonnée, Philip Marlatt, Tim Ogletree, Liz Waters, Conley Michelle Wehner | Written by Andrew Pozza | Directed by Derek Lee Nixon

Super-Activity-DVD

Parodies on horror can be hard to get right, as witnessed by Scary Movie. Personally I thought Scary Movie was quite good, it took Scream as the main focus and actually got a few laughs out of it, and then Scary Movie 2 came along which in a diluted form did the same but with the haunted house setting as the focus of the comedy. After that and after the Wayans brothers left the series it went downhill fast, even though the inclusion of Lesley Nielsen did save it to some extent. Now that we know that Scary Movie 5 is on its way I’m sure that most of us groaned at the thought of that dead dog being kicked once more. Parody is an easy way to get comedy, but the key in all of this is to actually be funny. With Supernatural Activity, a movie that looks to parody the found footage sub-genre of films, there is an attempt to be funny with a small budget, and to many it may come as a surprise.

The main crux of the story in Supernatural Activity is that a team of paranormal investigators on a show called “Supernatural Activity” go in search of the Smallquatch a mythical creature found in the small town of Hicksville. While the group do their investigation they are followed by a camera man who is creating a documentary about them, which is part of the film we are watching (yes, we are given the hint that this is very much a parody ofInception). As the host Damon Dealer (Andrew Pozza) shows us how he creates his fake show strange things start to happen, could the Smallsquatch be real? Will the members of the team lost in the woods like in Blair Witch Projectbe saved? Or could this be as bad as the ending for the Last Exorcism?

You may question why I ended the synopsis of the plot in that way, that is because with this film being a parody of the “found footage” sub-genre these are the main films that it mocks, along with Paranormal Activity and a whole host of other films. What surprised me though was that they did not go for the farcical and slapstick style comedy that most parodies fall into. Supernatural Activity actually managed to amuse me with its cynical and sarcastic take on the popularity of “paranormal investigations”. We have EVP, we have video camera footage and we even have a séance to discover the truth of the Smallsquatch and its origins, all under the scrutiny of Damon Dealer himself, who of course must be centre stage. Even when the activity itself becomes real the parody does not end, as we move from the first half which is more Paranormal Activity to The Last Exorcism, even the change in tone halfway through the film is in a sense taking the impetus from The Last Exorcism for that one, and of course the ending mocks the hell out of that one.

One thing that did surprise me is that the “twist” at the end is quite interesting and not as much as a parody as homage to films like Inception and Bladerunner (fans of the films will see what I mean). It will really make you think about just what happened, which of course may be mocking the watcher for even thinking that. The fact is though the ending and a lot of the dialogue in the film will make you see that this is a film that is definitely made by fans of not only horror but movies as a whole; it’s more intelligent than the average Scary Movie type parody it actually thinks about the humour it tries to create. This of course is quite brave because it may not be what most people want to see, I mean come on, a film that makes you have to think? Come on people.

Supernatural Activity is a good film but it does have its weaknesses. By the end of the first half the Paranormal Activity jokes have worn thin, and you do start to question where it can go but the style change into The Last Exorcism is a good move because it wakes you up slightly, but it does start to feel like there was a struggle to make it into a feature length film. If you stick with it though there are plenty of laughs and surprisingly is not let down by the acting, although in some scenes that rely more on action it does tend to fall apart a bit. As somebody who was entertained though I can look past that and admit I was surprised that a film actually managed to parody some of the “blockbuster hits” and actually manage to make me laugh.

Supernatural Activity is released 13th August courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

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