Paranormal Activity (2009)

31 days of Horror

For the whole month of October I’ll be watching and reviewing one horror film each day!

The film that jumpstarted the Found Footage genre, Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity was a huge hit back in 2009, spawning FIVE sequels. This first, original movie however, is still the most iconic. The second film, is in my opinion arguably the best of the whole series. The others are a mixed bag at best, with 3 and 4 directed by the guys behind the original Catfish.

Micah and Katie are a couple of regular folks living together in a house where some weird things have started to occur. Cameras are set up around their home to record the supernatural goings on.

The slow burn progression and found footage style cranks up the tension for a satisfying amount of scares. Some found footage movies drag the scares out or just flat out aren’t scary at all. Found Footage films live and die by their ability to sell the audience on suspending their disbelief and Paranormal Activity uses its minimalism to do this perfectly. The realism and the fact that the two leads are likeable and funny only adds to the burgeoning horror.

What I really liked about this movie was that it sets up a fantastic mythology. The haunting is centred around Katie and has followed her since childhood, creating an initial sense of doubt that it may all be in her head. The reveal that the entity isn’t a ghost, but a demon is a real gut punch too, knowing that Katie isn’t going to have an easy ride. The sequels ran with this idea, the third movie even being a prequel about Katie’s childhood and adding even more depth.

I loved rewatching Paranormal Activity, it had been a long time and I’d forgotten just how good it was. Sometimes, something so simple just works perfect. Each time the film shifts to night time, you begin to dread what’s coming next. The sped up bedroom scenes particularly deliver the scares.

As a stand alone film, Paranormal Activity is a solid, scary haunted house movie. It rejuvenated the genre and spawned a host of imitators and spoofs, the sign of a true cultural phenomenon. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you give it a look.

You can pick up Paranormal Activity from Amazon and help support the site!

For Fans Of :

The Blair Witch Project

Poltergeist

VHS

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