I finally got a chance to check out Paranormal Activity today, it only took me so long because I had to find someone that would go with me, my girlfriend was having none of it and refused to go. It has been playing in my area for a couple weeks now, we normally get a lot of the limited releases in my area so I usually get a chance to check these types of movies out, but this time I had to wait for a wider release because nobody wanted to come down this way to check it out.
Paranormal Activity follows in the footsteps of movies like The Blair Witch Project, Cannibal Holocaust, [REC]/Quarantine, Cloverfield and Diary of the Dead. It uses the first person point of view to both nauseate you and immerse you in the story, plus it’s a very cheap way to make a movie. Paranormal Activity is rumored to have cost around $11,000 and from the looks of it most of that money was spent on the camera and possibly renting the house. So the movie follows a couple that just moved in together and started experiencing some weird phenomena that is occurring in their new house, lights are flickering, faucets turn on and sometimes they can hear whispers. Micah decides to set up a video camera and record everything that happens to him and Katie while these strange things are occurring, but eventually things start to take their toll on both of them.
So without giving away too much of the movie and what happens I’m going to leave the plot at that. The 2 constantly film each other as these strange things happen as they try to figure out what it is and why it’s happening. I really enjoyed the movie as I thought I would, but I could definitely see how some people would find it a little boring. At times things moved a little slow, but I think those moments actually helped me to connect more with the characters. I actually felt as if I knew these people and was experiencing what they were experiencing, with them. The overall fear and terror that these two showed on screen definitely seemed genuine and made me feel uneasy for them everytime they went to sleep.
The bulk of the “activity” comes when the couple goes to sleep at night, as you would expect, but that doesn’t mean that nothing happens at all during the day. As the movie progresses the experiences become more intense and more suspenseful for the characters as well as the audience. There’s one scene in particular where Micah is going up into the attic that had me on the edge of my seat. The atmosphere and suspense that builds during certain scenes was sometimes more intense than the actual scare, and it’s not a bad thing at all, I actually liked it. I love the idea of the fear of the unknown and that’s exactly what’s going on throughout this entire movie. We don’t know what’s going on and the characters don’t know what’s going on, but we’re all in it together trying to figure it out.
The way the plot moved forward and the way the movie ended kind of reminded me a lot of The Blair Witch Project, but I think that this film delivered on more of the scares that I remember expecting when I saw The Blair Witch Project. So if you’re into these types of “first person”, shaky-cam type movies and you’re looking for a movie that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as well as creep you out, then definitely go check this one out. I’m glad that Paramount decided to release this movie “as is” as opposed to remaking it as they were planning on doing. I know the ending that we’re seeing in theaters now is not the original ending that the filmmaker shot, but this ending was incredible and I’d love to see what the original one was. I also like the fact that Paramount did a few things that are a little unconventional with movies, in addition to starting off the movie with some text to make the audience think this is real footage, at the end of the movie they completely cut all credits which left the entire theater sitting there for about 5 minutes in silence thinking there was more… great way to give people time to process what they just saw before leaving their seats.
So what did you guys think? Have you had a chance to check this one out yet? Did it live up to the hype, was it better than The Blair Witch Project?