This is the big question. The ending we got in the theatrical cut of Paranormal Activity had Micah rushing downstairs to save a shrieking Katie, followed by sounds of Micah’s own screams being cut short, heavy stomps on the stairwell and then the “money shot” of Micah’s body flying into the camera while possessed Katie stands over his corpse, sniffs it, and then lunges at the camera. IMHO it was a pretty satisfying climax – albeit one that was stupidly ruined by the teaser trailer for the film. Not all of you agree with that sentiment, though, so maybe you’ll have a better opinion of the original ending to Paranormal Activity, or perhaps the alternate endings which were shot after Paramount acquired the film:

  • Katie Myers” — The original ending to Paranormal Activity supposedly had Micah running downstairs to save Katie, sounds of a scuffle, followed by Katie (entranced) returning to the bedroom covered in blood, with bloody knife in hand. Katie then proceeds to sit on the floor rocking backing forth for days on end (see header image); her girlfriend from earlier scenes leaves an answering machine message inquiring where the couple is, eventually stops by and discovers Micah dead. The police rush in and find Katie, who snaps out of her trance, only to be gunned down by the cops when she freaks out on them. The credits dedicate the film to couple, sustaining the “real-life” atmosphere of the movie.
  • Murder, Suicide” — The only alternate ending we have word on was rumored to have been screened just once for audiences. In this alternate climax, Micah rushes downstairs, gets stabbed to death, and Katie returns to the bedroom with the knife and proceeds to slit her own throat in front of the camera. As Horror Squad points out, this ending links back to an earlier scene where Micah threatens to “take care” of the ghost by flashing a large kitchen knife.

VERDICT: For my part I’m glad they changed the original ending: the whole “Katie Myers” angle turns a great ghost story into a routine slasher flick cliche; the catatonic trance for days on end and death-by-police finale seems way too drawn out and not at all scary. On the other hand, the murder/suicide alternate ending seems a bit too hardcore and gratuitous for a film that otherwise seems to value mood and suggestion over buckets of blood and gore.

Finally, the current ending – with the footnote that Katie is still at large – leaves the door open for a new Boogeyman mythos, and, of course, a sequel. Most importantly, the current ending is this best round-off for the themes of demonic possession and supernatural forces at work in the real world, which the rest the film does considerable work to set up.

So there you have it – some of the noted changes that were made to Paranormal Activity. The fimmmakers and studio would be really stupid not to include all these extra bits when they release the movie on DVD/Blu-ray, as I’m sure the film will become even more of a cult-phenomenon as people pick over each and every scene to come up with THEIR best version of the movie.

Speaking of which: are you happy with the current version of Paranormal Activity? Do you see something in those alternate scenes and endings you wish had made it to the theatrical version?

Paranormal Activity is currently showing in many, many theaters and is expected to spread to even more.

Source: Horror Squad

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