Review: ‘Paranormal Activity’ makes going to sleep a nightmareOctober 18th, 2009 at 10:16 pm by Laff at the Movies under Entertainment
I have said this before, I am not a fan of horror movies… but I do like horror movies that are well done… and this one is well done. “Paranormal Activity” passes my test: does it give me chills just thinking about it – the answer here is an emphatic YES. Horror movies are meant to scare the audience, so this also passes my second horror movie test: is it hokey, corny, or so bad that I am not scared by it – and the answer is no. “Paranormal Activity” seeps into your memory… and doesn’t let go.
This is probably obvious since its scary enough to give adults nightmares, but I would not recommend taking kids to this movie.
A viral marketing push got Paramount to release the small budget “Paranormal Activity” to theaters nationwide after some very good early screenings.
(My spoiler-free review)
“Paranormal Activity” is chilling and unnerving, it makes going to sleep a nightmare.
Set in the very real believable world of one couple’s home, this movie succeeds with an increasing level of scare, offset by frequent moments of comedic relief that break up the rising tension created by the paranormal events going on in the house and the growing uneasiness in the couple’s relationship.
There are only really four characters in this movie, the guy Micah (pronounced mee-kah) and his girlfriend Katie, a psychic (Mark Fredrichs), and Katie’s friend. Ohh, and don’t forget the character that is haunting their home… a very well developed character… one of the more menacing evils of the horror movies I’ve seen given the lack of real screentime.
Micah and Katie give very real, very convincing performances, which is important because the more this movie feels real, the more terrifying it is that it could be happening… much like “The Blair Witch Project” (1999)… but this movie is better than that because of its setting, completely limited to the couple’s home.
Much of the fright is implied, its driven by what you don’t see… just hearing the paranormal and seeing the results of it… until, as the movie moves along, we see more and more… but not too much.
“Paranormal Activity” is really good… it gave me chills in the theater and is giving me chills again just thinking about it… like other great horror movies (“The Ring” (2002), “The Exorcist” (1973), “The Shining” (1980), “The Grudge” (2004), “Saw” (2004)) at the top of my scariest movies list, which I will now have to update. The realism of this movie makes it very cathartic… with the audience going through the paranormal activity along with Micah and Katie from the perspective of the camera…. and not just watching it, or putting yourself in their shoes like other scary movies.
THE BOTTOM LINE: this movie is very original with one small exception near the end, which is one of three small problems that keep me from rating this movie even higher… I give it 8.5 out of 10. At at the risk of spoiling the movie, I will explain my issues in a way that only those who have seen it will understand: the photo, the alarm system, and the evil movements at the end… the last being the one thing that makes it less original because we’ve seen it before in two of the movies I mentioned above.
(2009) (rated: R for language)
(1 hr, 26 min)
Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs, Amber Armstrong, Randy McDowell, Ashley Palmer, Tim Piper
Director: Oren Peli
The Plot: After moving into a suburban home, a couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence.
So what did you think? Please post a comment!
“Paranormal Activity” poster courtesy Paramount
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