Paranormal Activity was a surprise hit and was released this year together with Saw VI which it beat at the box office. Because the budget was a mere $ 15,000 this is one of those movies that is surrounded by articles on how the return of investment is extremely large. The same with movies like Clerks, Deep Throat and The Blair Witch Project. Which brings me to the fact that Paranormal Activity could very well be a sequel to The Blair Witch Project with its home video documentary style and falsely claiming to be true events. Though I must admit it never actually states that these are events that actually happened, but the movie does start with a credit thanking the San Diego police department.
The movie consists of hand-held footage shot by the actors themselves giving the movie its realistic look. Most of the time the camera is positioned somewhere while recording which avoids the shaking camera syndrome that movies like The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield had. The reason for the camera recording this is because a couple living in a new house experience strange things happening at night. To find out what is going on they document everything and have the camera recording at night while they’re at sleep. At first small things happen like key suddenly popping up in the middle of the floor while they were lying on something a a couple of feet away, later on the events that occur are more disturbing; doors suddenly opening and closing, mysterious shadows and other stuff ghosts, or paranormal entities, like to do.
The events that occur in the movie are realistic and frightening. The idea of this kind of stuff happening while you’re asleep is truly creepy and as such the movie becomes creepy at certain moments. It even managed to almost get under my skin. Almost because what is weak about the movie is that it is all fake and directed. The power of the The Blair Witch Project was that the makers went to great lengths to convince the audience that this was real footage, and this all actually happened, even though nothing actually really happened other than some people getting lost in the woods.
The two lead actors do a fine job and look very natural which adds to the realism of the movie. Would anybody have bought this to be real if our leads were these two extremely attractive people that mostly have the lead in horror movies? I don’t think so. Though I must say that Katie Featherston might not be a Playboy model, she did look fine and her walking around in her night clothes wasn’t hard on the eyes at all. I’m surprised that there are all of these message-board comments stating how fat she is. The girl has flesh on her bones and packs some nice curves, but can hardly be described as obese. A strange world we’re coming to.
I did find one character to act very weak. It’s the guy that comes in on 2/3 of the movie and quickly gets out because the presence is very angry at him… He delivered all of his lines very weak and I was glad he only had a minute or two screen time.
People who get the chills from regular horror movies will no doubt be pissing in their pants watching this movie, those who watch them as entertainment could better watch something with more substance as nothing really happens in this movie.