30 NIGHTS OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WITH THE DEVIL INSIDE THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
MOVIE: * (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
In the behind-the-scenes content of the DVD of “30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” director Craig Moss flat-out admits that spoof movies have declined in popularity. Then he goes on to say that he doesn’t give a shit, and he makes them because he thinks they’re funny.
To a certain degree, I have to respect him for this attitude. After all, I can support anyone following their passion, especially in the light of waning popularity. However, even with these bonus points, this film is not good.
Oddly enough, it hits DVD and Blu-ray less than a week after Marlon Wayans’ similar spoof “A Haunted House” hit theaters. I will actually give a slight edge to “30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” because it has a more cohesive focus than “A Haunted House,” but that’s not saying much.
This story spoofs the obvious films in its title, using “Paranormal Activity” and “The Devil Inside” as its framework. While there are a couple funny gags, and some of the characters can be entertaining (in particular a duo of incompetent ghost hunters who show up now and then), many of the jokes fall flat and have the cleverness of the random pop culture references from a Friedberg and Seltzer movie. At times, they seem thrown in more as a response to a simple movie release – like “The Hunger Games” and “Black Swan” – than actually to deliver a joke.
I know that this is a spoof movie, and you can’t judge the script as you would a regular narrative feature, but even in this context, you have to follow some rules. Part of the backstory to the characters is the main woman’s father (French Stewart) kills the entire cast of “The Artist,” including the dog Uggie. However, this somehow happens in the 1990s. I get the fact that it seems like the most absurd and uncalled-for killing, but it’s hard to wrap your brain around something that happens in 1998 to a cast of a film that won last year’s Oscar.
Yeah, I’m overthinking it, and anachronisms are often played for jokes in films like this (including the quite brilliant “Blazing Saddles”), but this movie stretches the technique too far.
In the end, “30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” might give some people a few laughs, but it’s down the list in the ranking of spoof movies. At least you don’t have to see it in the theaters like “A Haunted House.”
The DVD comes with only a behind-the-scenes featurette, which covers the familiar ground of how funny the cast thinks they are and various accolades on why they’re so brilliant (which they’re not).