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11 May 2011

Paranormal Activity (2009) Review

Paranormal Activity was impressive because of its experimentation with the camera and editing, and simplicity. This isn’t one of your ‘high-budget, high-grossing’ movies. This is a film that was built with a budget of $15 000! The film was very clever, simplistic in editing and had quite a lot of thrills and scares up near the end. It isn’t the scariest film around, but it was still pretty enjoyable. The film has an eerie feeling and doesn’t go around many locations other than the house.


Micah with his Camera.
Micah and Katie, two normal ‘if you could say so’ people in a relationship and live in the house together. Katie has a past of ghost hauntings and it seems this spirit is following her. Micah, the person who is basically filming the whole movie –which adds to the element of eeriness-, decides to film it and catch footage of the ghost’s activity, and to record sound of them. The film progresses through nights, and stuff just keeps getting spookier and stranger each night. Katie phones a psychic to the house to help out. After the warning that it is not a ghost, but a demon, they get very cautious and start getting freaked out more and more, especially Kate. From there onwards the film progresses in seeing this ‘Demon’ getting up to no good, without even seeing it physically. From slamming doors to setting Ouija boards on fire, this ghost doesn’t mess around!   

I think this is the thing that makes the film more impressive. It doesn’t rely on spooky, crazy FX and jumpy fast editing to scare you. But instead creates a lot of tension with the silence. It may seem boring, but believe me you won’t be bored. There is practically no soundtrack to the film and in terms of characters, there are rally only 2. We have the Psychic and Katie’s friend that appear in the film, probably just to show that they are still in reach with the world. The video editing was very nice indeed and very experimental. The entire film is filmed with a Mini DV from the looks of it and hey! I have the exact same tripod stand! (The one Micah uses in the bedroom) The film also doesn’t rely on visual effects, with barely none other than he invisible ghosts moving things. This was a risky experiment but in the end I was a pretty satisfying part of the film.

The Psychic on the left talking to Katie on the right.
The film was not very scary up until the last 35 minutes when things started to get more tense and spooky.  [Warning! Spoilers]. I enjoyed all the spooky things that happened, because they weren’t exaggerations. It was ‘paranormal=mal’ but still kept human principles in a sense. The first thing to happen is the door gently moving. This soon becomes the door slamming. The activity as I said, gets weirder and weirder, which is where the thrills are in this film. One of the scariest scenes is when Katie is dragged out of bed and pulled by this ghost out of the room and down the hall. The way that you can barely see anything adds to the fear factor. The second scariest scene, which is probably the most terrifying, is when we see Katie getting out of bed. And standing for about 3 hours – as we see the little camera time going’ She then walks out of the room and down the stairs. Next we hear a scream and Micah runs out looking for her. The camera stays put naturally and the screaming stops. Micah stops too. About 30 seconds after the demented Katie walks up the stairs with blood on her shirt and a knife in her hand. A very scary and memorable scene.


The film can easily be called boring because of it’s lack of character, and that is true. But that kind of adds to the feeling of the film, two ordinary people who get haunted by ghosts. I thought the film wasn’t the best for scaring but there were some tense and creative moments. The script wasn’t the greatest and it could have been improved. The film doesn’t have much to improve, but doesn’t mean the film is an almighty film. More characters definitely would have been more interesting though.


To put it in words, Paranormal Activity is a spooky, original experimentation film that gives chills and thrills throughout. However, there aren’t enough characters and editing is almost ‘lazy’ as it is very simple. It is still enjoyable, but lazy. Overall it’s a fairly enjoyable film that will likely give you a few scares.

My Rating: 6.5/10

1 comment:

  1. Great review! Though this one does not interest me. Btw, how the heck is Wes Craven a nominee for your best director poll? lol

    ReplyDelete

 

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