With the rising popularity of television series that focus on documenting alleged paranormal events, it is not surprising that a film on this subject would be coming our way. Leave it up to a video game developer to grasp this hot topic and know just how to tackle it. Israeli native Oren Peli is a first time filmmaker who made his debut at the Screamfest Film Festival in October 2007 with this $11,000 movie he shot entirely on a hand-held video camcorder. In case you were wondering, this is a profoundly small budget that is below even the most modest of independent film productions.
According to audiences, that budget was more than enough to scare them out of their minds because when the film went on to the Slamdance Film Festival in 2008, even more people got up and left the theater, too disturbed to finish the movie. This is a very good sign and the fact that the movie was picked up by Dreamworks for distribution speaks highly of its quality, despite the current plans of only doing a limited release because there has been talk of remaking Peli’s original on a more generous budget. What speaks even more highly is the fact that Steven Spielberg actually watched this film in his home and then reported that after viewing the DVD the door to his bedroom somehow locked from the inside, forcing him to call a locksmith. Afterwards, he returned the copy to Dreamworks, certain he’d been somehow affected by the movie.
That is pretty high praise, but even if it’s not enough to convince you this tale of a couple attempting to record ghostly habitation in their own home is a true freak out, then check out the videos that show people actually watching the movie. It’s not often that you see an audience cringe, jump and hide their faces as they shriek. This is excellent news for horror fans because it’s been quite some time since a genuinely scary movie haunted theaters. In fact, some would argue that not since The Exorcist has their been this level of people walking out on an old school horror movie. Others compare the film to The Blair Witch Project which used a similar low budget filming style, but Paranormal Activity does not attempt to dupe its viewers into believing the film. It lets the action taking place on screen handle that task.
If you enjoyed the grassroots internet-based push that got Snakes on a Plane into theaters, then you might get the same thrill helping Paranormal Activity achieve a wider release by visiting its website where they have a convenient form to notify your local theater that they need to carry this film. This level of audience participation is sure to make for a cinematic experience that goes beyond the norm.
For those looking to experience a traditional ghost story goes horribly wrong shot in a new and clever way that packs a poltergeist punch, Paranormal Activity looks to be a clear winner. After all, despite being one of humanity’s oldest sort of scary stories, who doesn’t love a the tale of people haunted by all too real ghost – or should we say, demon?