|Supernatural Activity (2012)|
|Director:||Derek Lee Nixon|
|Starring:||Andrew Pozza, Liddy Bisanz, and Joey Oglesby|
On the positive side of things, the filmmakers do attempt to try to take a few new directions in terms of comedic timing and the types of jokes that are put into use. As hard as it may be to believe, I did in fact laugh a few times during this movie. I have a weakness for bad puns, so I won’t say that the biggest laughs that came from me were from the wittiest lines of dialogue audiences will find. I think most of my laughs came from Brock, the chiseled paranormal detective who has no purpose in life other than taking off his shirt. Some of his introductory lines are classic. “When I go to the gym, the weights catch a pump” might be incredibly stupid, but did I laugh? Absolutely. The movie does manage to become slightly more interesting as the movie tries to layer jokes and attempt some different material than what might normally be found in a movie such as this one. There’s some use of the pregnant pause, where characters go completely blank while scenes become so awkward that they become funny, and a ton of meta jokes along the way. The movie wants the audience to know that it doesn’t take itself serious, and that is certainly nice to know, but it doesn’t escape the fact that the majority of these jokes do not work.
Imagine any average activity or occurrence, and then imagine some sort of “reversal” or “zany” thing happening that is outside of the norm. That’s basically the comedy that is in full effect during Supernatural Activity. Sound pretty boring and unimaginative? It is. For example, during a shot that is supposed to show the transition from night to morning, we are given the classic “rooster crowing” background soundtrack. For no explicable reason, the rooster sounds as if it is killed at the end of the shot. If this strikes you as “random” or humorous, then perhaps Supernatural Activity will light up your life. However, while watching the scene, I could not think of anything more predictable. Supernatural Activity is usually at its best when it deals less with straightforward jokes and more with the absurd nature of its characters. Instead, often we are relegated to comedy that is only two or three points away from the comedic gold that arises from a man slipping on a banana peel. Is this the humor that defines the spoof genre? I hardly think so. When you go back and look at Airplane!, the genesis for these random spoof movies, the Zucker brothers at least tried their very best to create jokes that relied heavily on wordplay and very silly ideas played off with straight characters who could help sell the silliness. After Scary Movie, it seems that these movies hit their plateau. Supernatural Activity is far from the worst product that this genre has ever produced, but it doesn’t do a whole lot to step out and become something that is better than what one should expect of these movies.
Aside from simply throwing swerves, most of the comedy within the movie relies heavily on pop culture references. Not even references that are remotely witty or pertinent to the situation at hand. Featuring the absolute worst impersonation of Robert Downey Jr.’s character from Tropic Thunder that the world has ever seen, as well as a very quick cut-a-way shot that is supposed to serve as a “funny” reference to Inception, the references aren’t always the strongest aspect of this movie. Some are actually quite bizarre, including a sequence where the movie seems to stop for a decent period of time in order to make reference towards The Blair Witch Project. This only seems odd because Blair Witch is a movie that most younger viewers, the audience that will likely find Supernatural Activity on DVD, have likely never seen it. Yet, despite everything, the performances in this movie are surprisingly strong. Sure, the writing is a bit dense (So, the smallsquatch is a physical entity? A demon? Huh?), but the actors all come across as believers in this film. They try their best to be as charismatic as possible and for the most part they succeed. Their faith, unfortunately, is not enough to save the movie.