Last year I wrote a blog about a movie called Paranormal Activity. What intrigued me about that whole thing was that over 1 million people requested it be released. One million! Clearly interest was peaked and when it came to the theater there was an explosion of activity on my blog.
Everyone wanted to know one thing...was any part of what was depicted in the movie Paranormal Activity real?
In fact, so much interest was generated on my blog, I wrote a second post called The Reality Behind Paranormal Activity. I even included a review of the movie (which I did finally watch when it came out on DVD) in my book, Escaping the Cauldron (being published by Charisma House, Sept. 2012).
Now, here we are a year later and what should I discover a few weeks ago but that the masters of overkill (no pun intended) in Hollywood are capitalizing on a) 2009's outrageous success of Paranormal Activity and b) the continued interest in anything paranormal and coming out with a sequel.
Yes, that's right...Paranormal Activity 2.
However, this time around the tension will be ratcheted up a notch higher as the unfortunates experiencing harassment by invisible beings are a family with a little baby and a dog. The movie isn't even out yet but interest is already beginning to churn as we near the middle of October.
I have no doubt this film will do well. It's highly possible that it may even prove to be a more entertaining movie than its predecessor as I'm sure they had a lot more money to spend this time around. However, I'm sure the question will remain the same.
Is the activity witnessed by the camera in Paranormal and/or Paranormal Activity 2 real?
Well, the most obvious thing people must understand about both the original movie and it's sequel is this...they are just movies. All of the action or activity seen in either film is manufactured by a special effects department. The people are portrayed by actors and nobody is actually harmed, killed, or disappeared forever never to be seen again (ala Blair Witch or The Fourth Kind ) in ANY of these so called "lost footage" movies. These movies are designed to give you a wiggins, make you jump out of your seat, and entertain you with "the big scare", particularly around Halloween.
One of the reasons these films are in fact so frightening is the writers and directors are fairly realistic in the portrayal of some paranormal phenomenon or activity. While they add their own "Hollywood flair" ( the unrealistic or fantastical things which occur such as Ouija boards bursting into flames, people being dragged out of bed by unseen forces, etc.) there are many experiences portrayed in the films which people have reported or have been witnessed in actual hauntings. Things like doors opening and closing, the sound of footsteps, hearing voices, tapping or knocks, swinging lamps, objects being moved, etc. These experiences are realistically portrayed in Paranormal Activity and I assume its sequel if it follows suit.
The big question is should a Christian go see a movie like Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2, or anything in a horror genre? Only if the person is mature enough in their relationship with God to understand the movie for what it is and have sense enough to not go looking for it afterward. True wisdom in this regard is to avoid such films completely and not fill our minds and spirits with these dark or frightening images but rather focus on things that are pure, lovely, and of good report (Phillipians 4:8 NIV).
Friends, there is a spiritual world around us.
Yes. Some of what you may witness in Paranormal Activity or Paranormal Activity 2 is based on real accounts of haunting phenomena. As I've said before there are legitimate hauntings and paranormal experiences but they are nothing to be sought out, investigated, or messed with other than to stand firm in Jesus Christ (assuming you have accepted Him as Lord and Savior) commanding any such activity (and accompanying spirits) to cease and desist in Jesus name. I think it's important for Christians with gifts of discernment be willing to listen and help people experiencing weird, unusual, or frightening situations with wise counsel and prayer.
For the record, I am called to this kind of discernment ministry and offer help to anyone who needs it either in person, through counseling by email or phone, or assisting people in finding local church's which understand and minister through spiritual gifts.
Honestly, the problem I have with movies like Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2 and all of these "psuedo-realistic docudramas" is they feed into an already over-whetted appetite for the occult, ghosts, ghost hunting, mediums, and psychics. They send a dangerous message that its okay to dabble or to "investigate"and record these kinds of phenomena rather than deal with it directly through prayer.
I don't know about you, but there are simply other films I'd rather invest my money and time in watching.