Obviously there are severe limitations in the Paranormal Activity-videocam mode of moviemaking, and I wish never to see a picture made in this mode again. In Chronicle (2012), however, for all the severe limitations, it’s fairly free of hokiness.
Written by Max Landis, the son of John, and directed by Josh Trank, the film centers on three teens who unexpectedly receive a talent for moving things with their minds–telekinesis–and proceed to have a lot of fun with it. The top dog with this power is Andrew (Dane DeHaan), a friendless boy with a horrid home life, who nevertheless decides to stick a camcorder in other people’s faces (whether he knows them or not) and who finds it offensive that his nice cousin used to consider Andrew hard to talk to. Presented without pathos, the lad becomes desperate and hostile. Telekinesis gets very dangerous; it’s now a weapon.
The film avoids all blandness and predictability, and is somewhat more than a middlebrow indie curio. Like so many other entertainment movies these days, it finally exhibits way too much destruction and mayhem, but it’s not without smarts and thrills. It’s recommendable–more so, I think, than Paranormal Activity.
Now, no more camcorders.