Paranormal Activity

Twitter has been all, well, a-twitter about the new DIY-style horror flick Paranormal Activity, so I thought I would check it out. Originally released to the film festival circuit in 2007, now picked up by Paramount, Paranormal Activity purports to be the footage taken by a San Diego couple from their camcorder as they experience a series of supernatural events.

Through the lens of the couple’s camera, we see doors slam, a Ouija board become possessed and some creepy footprints magically appear in their bedroom. A well-meaning psychic tries to help the couple out, but is unable, then unwilling, to do so, leaving them to fend for themselves when the final attack of the demon is captured on tape. The extremely predictable ending is insulting to anyone with more complex emotions than a 13-year-old.

There is no clever editing or creative storytelling; instead, we just see the events as the director wants us to see them, painfully aware that the characters are dragging the camera around their house, even when it is highly implausible that they would be doing so.

Paranormal Activity also misses the mark on its sense of timing and suspense. It is so painfully obvious when the audience is supposed to feel impending doom or fear, and the “scary” events are trumpeted with a chorus fitting the entry of a monarch. The movie is “boo” scary, like an uncle surprising you by jumping out from behind a door, but it isn’t metaphysically, emotionally or psychically crazy. No one leaves the theater thinking that the events in the movie could happen to them; one just leaves with the same feeling of adrenaline depletion one gets after a short roller coaster ride.


I haven’t visited the new restaurant that occupies the former Fate, so I was excited to get the chance to do so during a Downtown Friday Night event. The remodeled, revamped Nine|05 is a stark contrast to the old restaurant that occupied the space. While I can appreciate the aesthetics of a building that is more house than restaurant, it is refreshing to see that Nine|05 now looks like it is complete, instead of the “sort of, not quite” look that characterized Fate.

The soba noodles were delicious — I am a big cashew fan, so I was excited to try the combination of cabbage, radish and cashews with classic soba. The seasoning was strong, but well tempered. The fried heirloom tomatoes were also delicious, with a savory aioli and basil that made them almost feel like the start of a sort of deconstructed Asian caprese.

The wine selection is decent — we had a bottle of the Brazin Old Vine Zin, a Lodi wine with a heavy dose of cherry.

The service was good, and the front patio is great for a casual hangout with friends. Nine|05 ranks right up there with Gallo Blanco as a great place to eat and drink, and wait for people to show up. The pricing is on the high side, though. Seared scallops or Hoisin Short Rib will put you back $26, but if you are looking to splurge just a bit and stay Downtown, try out Nine|05.