Friday, March 25, 2011

Paranormal Activity (2007)

***(out of four stars)

When I first saw the trailer for this little known, very limited released movie I wasn't entirely sold. At first glance it looks like nothing more than a glorified episode of Paranormal State or Ghost hunters, but upon viewing it I felt the opposite. The movie doesn't open with the traditional credits like we're used to rather than just a little piece saying that the "footage was found" on, so forth.

The footage was shot by Micah Sloat, the boyfriend of Katie Featherston. You might want to know why Micah is following his pretty girlfriend around with the camera on her at all times. The reason: Katie has been experiencing paranormal activities in their new home. So Micah, with camera in hand, wants to document any activity he can. This of course is in the same style as the Blair witch project. The only difference is Katie is being chased by a demon. So it really doesn't matter if she leaves the house or not because eventually the demon will get her.

So right there we have the story in a nutshell.

This film is creepy in a way that there is no true escape for our lovely little Katie. Micah sets up the camera a night; whilst they sleep. As they sleep, we hear (and see) doors slamming, loud footsteps roaming around the house, and lights flickering and and off. Katie is often physically terrorized by the demon as well. At one point we see her being dragged out of bed by an invincible apparition, while in another she's become possessed and just stares at Micah for hours while he sleeps.

The visuals are pretty great and kind of save the film. Truth be told without the effects this movie would've been just another crappy episode of one of those ghost shows that I mentioned above. You know, with the "Oh my god! What was that noise?" Not ever revealing anything to the viewer. Alot of the scenes are without any edits so I give credit to the filmmakers for making the effects work without that little splash of editing magic that we normally see. And don't let me fail to mention that this film has no score and doesn't follow traditional formula. This makes it all the more genuine in its attempts to scare the crap out of you.

Having watched this once in the theatre, I'd say that, that was the best format for this type of film. Don't waste your time trying to get the same effect on your ipod or small computer monitor. Trust me, watch it on something "big" where the sound is "full", this will enhance the visuals and overall experience.

Word to the wise. If you wake up and your girlfriend/wife is staring at you at around 3:15 in the morning, file for a divorce or throw her to the curb. She's probably possessed by a demon and eventually it will come back to haunt you.

Cast: Katie Featerston, Micah Sloat

Written and Directed by: Oren Peli


86 mins

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