Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs
Director: Oren Peli
Writer: Oren Peli
Original Score: N/A
Running Time: 86 Mins.
Paranormal Activity is one of those film’s where its reputation very much precedes it, hailed by Spielberg and America as a nation as one of the scariest films of all time, and made on a shoestring budget, beating the latest Saw sequel to the top spot for Halloween and pretty much trouncing everything else Horror based, it has gone on to become, through a clever viral marketing campaign and good word of mouth, a true success story and one of the most profitable films af all time. So, to put it in perspective so far so Blair Witch.
But to compare the scare factor of Paranormal Activity to that of The Blair Witch Project is to do the former a dis-service. For where Blair Witch provided requisite scares in its final 2 minutes, Paranormal Activity sustains and builds on the terror throughout. So, what do you need to know, well, its shot DV style and presented to us as “found” footage, in the style of Blair Witch, Cloverfield and Rec, it has no gore whatsoever, very little is shown in the way of actual horrific events and most of the action is centred on the starring couples bedroom. No, not that kind of action!
So Paranormal Activity itself then is what occurs, experienced by the, at first, slightly worried Katie, her fiance Micah buys a camera to try and capture the activity Katie claims is occurring has done since the age of 8, Micah is the sceptic, and in goading the demon he gradually angers it more and more. Shot over a number of nights the camera is set up in the bedroom corner and true to form each night presents us with the next stage up in the haunting, to say any more would rob you of any scares, but suffice to say the less you know going in the more creeped out you will be!
What Paranormal Activity does so well is two-fold, firstly it makes us care for a couple we can really believe and invest in, we could quite easily be Micah or Katie and in their position, and secondly it presents us with a situation that is deeply disturbing as we all have to go through the motions experienced by the couple, sleeping, hearing bangs in the night etc! What is more disturbing than encroaching on your personal space? And where is more personal and feels safer than your own bed? Well since Paranormal Activity apparently that space is no longer safe.
I have been craving something that would scare me and long have I been disappointed in a Hollywood obsessed with the gore factor, something that has become tired all too quickly and, lets face it, was never actually genuinely creepy. Those films that play with your imagination and strike out at what is most “normal” are always those that have the power to scare and disturb and along with the original Rec I can safely say Paranormal Activity is that film.
Paranormal Activity is the first genuinely unnerving film experience you will have for quite some time, a short, sharp jolt of scares that plays on the things we take for granted as safe, forget blood and guts, mind games are where the real horror is at and creator Oren Peli is king!