After all the internet hype, the trailers, the clips, the calls, the "demand Paranormal Activity in your area" emails, I was FINALLY able to see it last night. The theater was pretty full and the crowd was into it. So I sat back and got ready to be scared shitless by the so called "scariest film EVER".
Paranormal Activity is filmed like a "fake" documentary which works best for this film considering it's small $11,000.00 budget. There's only four actors in the entire film and two of them are only on screen for about five minutes each, so it's mainly just two. The two main characters are Katie and her serious boyfriend Micah. They're young, in love, have a new house together, and are trying to start a life. Until some really weird stuff starts happening. That's when Micah right from the first scene decides to set up a camera in the corner of their bedroom while they sleep and see if he can catch anything that's happening on camera.
We've seen the whole fake documentary style of filmmaking before with The Blair Witch Project and Open Water (although Open Water isn't from a persons POV) and it's worked. I thought Blair Witch was great and even though you know it's all fake I can still manage to be convinced by it and I can see where a movie of that nature would have a real scary affect on people watching it who are from a small town who don't really know much about filmmaking. They may even think it's actually real which is a great accomplishment for the director in my opinion. What makes Paranormal Activity stand out from Blair Witch is that these things are happening to a specific person for a specific reason. MINOR SPOILERS- We're not quite sure exactly what that real reason is but this "thing" is there for a reason. There are some really cool effects in this film. Some of which, actually most of which I have no idea how they were able to pull off on their budget. There's a really cool scene with a ouija board and another really creepy scene with the powder and the footprints. But I wont give much else away. END SPOILERS.
With a running time of about 90 minutes the film felt a bit too long. It takes a while for things to get going and it's really all build up as more and more stuff starts happening over the course of the nights. The best parts by far are at night when the camera is filming in the bedroom. But another thing that makes this film stand out is that if you think your safe during the day time....think again. I did think it was a bit overrated after all the hype but I have to admit, the film grew on me from the time I left the theater to the time when I was trying to fall asleep in bed. I wasn't TOO scared in the theater but when I got home and tried to go to sleep with the lights off that's when it really hit me. Because of that the film is a success. That's just me. Others were screaming their heads off in fright in the theater, so it definitely worked for them. I will say that after you see this, at least for the first few days, every noise you hear while trying to sleep will freak you out. I must say just one more thing about this. Every film school in the nation should be showing this to their students because this is a perfect example how to make a whole lot out of very little when it comes to the process of filmmaking. Sometimes what you can't see is what scares you the most. Paranormal Activity gets 3 outa 5.