‘Chronicle’: Like ‘Paranormal Activity,’ but with superpowers?

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‘Paranormal Activity 3' will dominate the box office this weekend. But why should Paramount have all the fun?

So goes the thinking at rival 20th Century Fox, which is set to make its own entrance into the low-budget genre-movie game with a film called ‘Chronicle.’

Directed by the newcomer Josh Trank and written by emerging screenwriter Max Landis (Shawn Levy’s in-development ‘Frankenstein,’ and son of John Landis), the February release centers on a trio of prankster teenagers who discover they have superhuman powers. It’s ‘Kick-Ass’ meets ‘Jackass.’

The newly released trailer is below, and while this sort of shaky-cam, found-footage-y storytelling can be a mixed bag, there’s certainly plenty here to intrigue. For starters, the superpowers are, refreshingly, used not for some kind of global domination but for seemingly ordinary teenage pranks — and then, as the stakes rise, for something more dangerous (but still human).


The movie — budgeted at about $15 million, according to a person familiar with the project — no doubt hopes to follow in the footsteps of another low-budget genre film released in winter, ‘Cloverfield,’ in addition to the Halloween-pegged ‘Paranormal.’

As it happens, the movie has another ‘Paranormal’ connection — Trank was discovered when he directed additional scenes for ‘Paranormal 2' that were used in the marketing of that film. Fox no doubt hopes less is more on ‘Chronicle.’ Films fans do too.


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— Steven Zeitchik