From the moment we heard about Paranormal Activity, it was clear this movie was going to be a winning horse in the race for the season’s biggest horror newcomer. We’ve hyped this movie because it really did look like something new and different, made with a very low budget and relying more on tension than the gross our factor. It is especially important to emphasize that this is not a gore fest nor are there Jason or Freddy type villains popping up out of nowhere. This is far more similar to the spookfests of old which is something that might’ve come from the mind of Hitchcock if he’d been born in the late 70’s.
In Paranormal Activity, we have a very simple one set film that focuses on a young couple who believe their house might be haunted. Katie’s a student and Micah’s a day trader, just two normal young people, for the most part. They experience some unnerving events so they fight back with the tool of our era, a video camera. By recording their observations day and night they hope to be able to figure out what exactly it is that’s creeping them out – and in turn, creeping us out. The premise here is very simple and there’s lots of movie industry coolness about this film, but you can read about that in our other articles on this film since this reviewer doesn’t want to bore you with facts and figures about film production.
Suffice it to say, Paranormal Activity delivers the goods and does it in an entertaining way. Anyone who goes in expecting it to live up to the hype is going to be faced with a challenge: did you want the movie to be good enough to be a major release despite its meager makings or did you want it to be the be all end all of spooky movies? It wouldn’t really be fair to expect this film to be the ultimate in haunting movies, but it certainly is worthy of its wide release. You can expect plenty of uncomfortable moments of anticipation and quite a bit to think about once the movie’s over and you’re back home again by yourself. That’s the beauty of a film like this, using the familiar elements most of us see every day and then playing upon fairly widespread scary fantasies about poltergeists.
The best part of the movie is that it does so much with so little and is extremely effective for its limitations. We never leave the house and we don’t have too much witty banter or innovative camera angles to contend with, it’s all about Katie and Micah trying to deal with what’s scaring them. In an age of over the top everything, it’s a very pleasant change and even more pleasant since it really can freak the audience out. It’s almost a question of whether it’s more fun seeing the movie or more fun how a first time audience reacts to it.
Despite its hype, this reviewer thinks the movie provided enough interesting moments to make it stand out even if it’d never been campaigned so hard by Paramount.
If you want a spooky way to spend an evening, you really should indulging in Paranormal Activity.