Sunday, June 12, 2011

Horror Movie Review: Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity

Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, and Mark Fredericks

Directed by: Oren Peli

Written by: Oren Peli

Production Company: Blumhouse Productions

Release Date: October 14, 2007

Awards: Paranormal Activity won the Horror/Thriller Choice Award at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards; Katie Featherstone won the Best Actress Trophy Award and Oren Peli won Honorable Mention at the 2007 Screamfest

Katie has been plagued by...something...since she was eight. It's followed her around from house to house and comes to her at night saying her name, moving things, and looming over her, a shadowy figure in the dark. Now things are getting worse and she wants them to stop.

Live in boyfriend Micah thinks he knows what to do. Get a camera to get proof. What we see is the proof he gets from his video camera. And proof that despite warnings, Micah is one of the reasons the demon, as we learn is the cause of the trouble, is getting worse.

A well done video camera horror can be a wonderful, scary as hell thing. The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, done with little to no alteration of the footage creates a feeling of watching the video of someone graduation or wedding. It makes it feel real, even when we, conscious that it is just a movie, know it is fake, even with computer generated monsters like in Cloverfield. Paranormal Activity comes very close to that authentic feel, although some scenes clearly have a jump, an unnatural shift in stance and position, which would not happen in a home shot video. Yet it's difficult to disengage from the home video feel giving us the uncomfortable feel that what you are watching is real.

You get frustrated and even angry at Micah for antagonizing the demon, and annoyed that Katie won't be an empowered woman of the 21st century and tell Micah what's going to be done and his machismo "I'm taking care of this. Nobody comes in my house, fucks with my girlfriend, and gets away with it," bullshit can take a hike.

The Ouija board bit doesn't make much sense, but still carries an element of creepiness. It's only after the film is done and you think about what you saw do you realize that it just doesn't make sense. Granted, there's some room for the demon to just be messing with Micah, or Micah not properly understanding what he sees on the Ouija board.

There are two endings, both of which have an element of hokeyness, but the original ending is probably the better one. But watch either your own risk.

Related Trailers

Paranormal Activity 2 - Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat return in Paranormal Activity 2. Doors slamming shut, shadows moving across the floor -- the unexplained, terrifyingly real supernatural forces are back, and this time, Dan (Brian Boland), Kristi (Sprague Grayden), Ali (Molly Ephraim), baby Hunter and dog Abby become part of the nightmare as the cameras roll. Tod Williams (The Door in the Floor) directs and Michael R. Perry ("Persons Unknown") writes this spine-chilling sequel to the wildly popular 2007 flick.

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