Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: Kristi Rey

Our genre character this week is a little tricky, because although the character is well developed over the two films she appears in, I found the horror of each of these films diminished as the series progressed.
Oh yeah, sorry – Kristi Rey is the main character of the film Paranormal Activity 2, and is also a main character (as a child) in the prequel film Paranormal Activity 3.
So (spoilers included) lets go back the fall of 2009 and the phenomenon of the Paranormal Activity franchise.  It was a found footage style film (clearly influence by The Blair Witch Project) which followed the lives of a young couple, Katie and Micah who dealt with some kind of creepy activity in their home.
The movie was a huge success, horror audiences loved it and as the Saw franchise was winding down it appeared thatParanormal Activity may be the new look of horror fims.
I didn’t see it until 2010, for free, from my local library.
Having been a dedicated fan of horror from my youngest years, this movie just seemed to be more of the same style of horror I had been seeing since The Blair Witch Project ten years earlier.  My personal opinion was that “…the first film was a lot of fun in a sort of Blair Witch Project vein, and there were more than a few scares throughout – without going into spoilers I will say that the movie is worth a watch, but maybe only if you can watch it on TV or get it cheap.”
Then, just like the Saw franchise, Paranormal Activity 2 came out in October of the next year (2010) and we were treated to an interesting prequel/sequel (which I reviewed here)
Now a few weeks back I watched Paranormal Activity 3, which follows the female leads from both previous films in a definite prequel, taking place nearly 20 years before the events of the first two films.
Again, I saw these free from my local library (which is how I recommend anyone should watch them), but it’s fair to say my favourite character in the franchise is Kristi, played in the second film by Sprague Grayden and as a child in the three-quel by Jessica Tyler Brown.
What I like about Kristi in both films is just how real she comes across – in a lot of ways the more down-to-earth a character is in a horror story, the more scary the story becomes, because the character is so easy to relate to for the audience.
My problem with the films as a whole, is that they start out showing you one thing, then saying it’s another (clever), and then the second film, although using a recognizable actress for its lead (bad choice in a found-footage style film, even if the actress is great), plays with both the format of prequels and sequels in general (more clever), the third film basically explains exactly what was going on and also seems to have a problem with grandmothers.
Yup – in the end the message received is “Don’t trust friendly Grandmothers.”
Now I know that a fourth film is on its way, and when it’s free I’ll probably check it out, but honestly, horror works best when there is an unknown to be afraid of – not when every possible back-story is examined for potential shock moments.

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