Oh my. This movie seriously creeped me out. I swear, I am not sure I will ever be able to brush off a creak in a darkened house the same way again.
My understanding of house-based noises has been corrupted. I am sure I will be able to get through it, but a door has been opened in the back of my mind. Could there be something out there creeping through my house? Is that shadow dancing on the wall merely a trick of the light or something more? When my keys are found on the floor or in a slightly different place than where I thought I placed them, is that my mind playing tricks on me or something more malevolent?
I can't say for sure one way or the other that I believe in paranormal phenomena, ghosts, poltergeists, or aliens. With that said, I can say that I am intrigued by the possibility. I am not ready to completely write them off. I mean that would be silly, wouldn't it? There is so much about this world that we do not understand that to eliminate anything out of hand would be arrogant and presumptuous.
Paranormal Activity plays a lot like The Blair Witch Project.
It is shot with a single camera, and told by unknown actors whose characters share their names. It also requires a certain level of audience participation. The film is being marketed in a similar fashion as well. They want you to believe this is real, or at least a recreation of real events.
I suspect that this movie will evoke similar reactions to Blair Witch as well. People will either love it or hate it. The most important thing to take with you into the theater is a willingness to believe. You have to let yourself go, and become involved with the characters and what is going on. Once you are able to do that, the movie gets under your skin fast and takes residence in the deepest recesses of the mind, opening an unmarked door and allowing a little fear to infect the synapses of your mind.
On the surface, Paranormal Activity seems to be a little too simple. At its core it is a haunted house story. A couple move into a house and strange things begin to happen to them, and they try to figure out what is going on. Nothing to it, right? Seen it a million times before, right? Give this a shot, you may find yourself surprised by what you find. You see, this movie is genuinely scary.
Everything is shot through one camera, either held by one of the two primary actors, or set on a stationary tripod. The depicted events escalate through a variety of distant noises and other non-threatening phenomena all the way to actual interactions with the characters. It is a very effective build up.
Man. I cannot get over how creepy this movie is. From the opening frame I was hooked, dragged along for the ride and spat out into the lobby, shaken, quiet, disconcerted. It has been quite some time since a movie has gotten to me like that. Yes, there have been other movies to disturb and shock me, but there was just something about Paranormal Activity that feels more real.
The movie was shot on digital video and has a very homemade feel to it. It is a low-budget film, and that works in its favor. It looks real. On top of that, there is good acting from the small cast. That is saying something considering we really only have two people talking for the majority of the film. Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat star as Katie and Micah (naturally), and they have real chemistry. The dialog sounds real, so real that it is hard to believe it is scripted and that is very hard to do.
Bottomline. Do not wait for this. If it is in your area make sure you see it. The movie is very well made, has just the right pacing, and will leave you in stunned silence followed by a desire to talk about it. Go see it, then come back and share your experience.