Excerpt: Written and directed by Oren Peli and made for fifteen grand using his own home as the movie’s solitary location, Paranormal Activity has much in common with a previous indy success story, The Blair Witch Project. While it’s seemingly okay to bash that film now, it scared the crap out of a lot of people who saw it in theaters and on video, and it too was made by a cast of unknowns for a very small amount of money.
Excerpt: It would seem that every decade has some sort of defining moment, or in this case a defining film, for a particular genre. With the teen comedies the 70′s had “American Graffiti”, the 80′s had “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, the 90′s Brought “Dazed and Confused” and the first part of the new century had “Superbad”. Such is the case with the horror genre.
Conclusion: 'Paranormal Activity' is hardly the normal horror film. It doesn't force itself into convention, it doesn't pander, and it doesn't bow to cliche in revealing its supernatural villain. Disguised as reality, the film may be amazingly effective if one truly believes they're watching the truth, because it is fairly damn effective even when one distances themselves and knows it's nothing but smart fiction.
Excerpt: Movies about the supernatural tend to be a bit of a gamble for moviegoers, especially these days. If the audience isn’t convinced by what they’re seeing on the screen, the movie will more than likely fail from its own weaknesses. The same could be said of films from all genres, of course, but when it comes to movies about ghosts and demons, you really have to stay on your toes to make get an audience’s attention without distraction.
Excerpt: Micah (Micah Sloat) doesn’t believe a demon is in his house. His girlfriend Katie (Katie Featherston) believes a spook, specter, or ghost has been following her since childhood. Micah is in constant doubt, yet still feels the need to go out and get an Ouija board to “cast out” the demon… or something. He is not just doing it for a joke either. Despite his reservations, he legitimately believes it will work, despite having no faith in the source of the problem.
Summary: You cannot run from this . Sometimes, big things come in small packages. Paranormal Activity , the latest micro-budget film to make it big, is a one-trick cinematic pony that lacks the glitz and glamour of its high-dollar brethren but beats out many of its contemporaries where it counts the most: simple know-how.
Conclusion: Specific yawns and groans: Clutching a cross in a bloodied hand when there had been no former mention of the character's faith. Why does the presence of a ghost (sorry, demon) cause instant Catholicism in the victim? Spinning the camera around and around to hammer home the footage is amateur. Because layman (non-cinematographers/directo rs) are incapable of holding a camera straight or steady.
Excerpt: Paranormal Activity is the latest in a long line of movies that uses a faux-"documentary” approach to add a little touch of realism to the film, following in the footsteps of The Blair Witch Project and the more recent Cloverfield . Sure, this technique has been done to death, but Paranormal Activity proves that it is still effective, and in the process manages to present a truly frightening horror film.
Excerpt: The new cinéma vérité horror film/mockumentary Paranormal Activity paradoxically feels more like a sequel to The Blair Witch Project than that film’s actual sequel. Like an ideal follow-up, Paranormal Activity takes the same basic premise—amateur filmmaker documents own descent into paranoia and terror at the hands of sinister unseen forces—in a bold new direction.
Excerpt: Seeing helpless victims face a brutal serial killer is terrifying, but after watching Paranormal Activity , I’d much rather be hanging out with Jigsaw than the demonic force haunting Micah and Katie. Experiencing this movie with an unruly crowd definitely diminished the horrifying effects, yet I still walked out terribly frightened and dreading turning out the lights and going to bed.