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Paranormal Activity (2009)


Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 192
Fresh: 159
Rotten: 33

Critics Consensus: Using its low-budget effects and mockumentary method to great result, Paranormal Activity turns a simple haunted house story into 90 minutes of relentless suspense.

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 30
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Using its low-budget effects and mockumentary method to great result, Paranormal Activity turns a simple haunted house story into 90 minutes of relentless suspense.


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 271,515


Movie Info

A haunted house makes no secret of the fact it's not pleased with its new tenants in this independent tale of supernatural horror. Katie (Katie Featherson) and Micah (Micah Sloat) are a twentysomething couple who've just moved into a new home in San Diego, CA. Katie has an interest in the paranormal and believes that malevolent spirits have been following her since childhood, though Micah is not so easily convinced. However, after several nights of loud noises and strange happenings, Micah … More

R (for language)
Mystery & Suspense , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
Oren Peli
In Theaters:
Dec 29, 2009
Box Office:
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Paranormal Activity

All Critics (193) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (159) | Rotten (33) | DVD (10)

The climax is deliciously scary, and Peli gets considerable mileage from the simple matter of lights inexplicably going on in another room.

Full Review… | December 15, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It illustrates one of my favorite points, that silence and waiting can be more entertaining than frantic fast-cutting and berserk f/x. For extended periods here, nothing at all is happening, and believe me, you won't be bored.

Full Review… | December 15, 2009
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It's this feeling of vulnerability that Peli's slow-burning supernatural chiller so effectively exploits, fashioning heart-stopping scares out of almost nothing.

Full Review… | November 27, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

Though it never poses a question more abstract than "Where's that scratching sound coming from?" Paranormal Activity is all about spiritual and ethical debts coming due.

Full Review… | October 30, 2009
Top Critic

Peli is to be congratulated for pulling off such an audacious project, but he needs a sharper sense of timing: The film's pacing is uneven, which weakens the suspense.

Full Review… | October 22, 2009
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Like legendary producer Val Lewton in the '40s, director Oren Peli, who shot Paranormal in seven days in his own home, understands that what's most frightening is what you don't see but merely suggested.

Full Review… | October 22, 2009
New York Post
Top Critic

For extended sections, this movie is very scary. My frequent self-preserving glimpses away from the screen, just to catch my breath, can confirm that.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

Fun as a communal experience in a crowded theater. Scary? Not that often.

Full Review… | February 1, 2013
Movie Nation

Peli teases the audience expertly. Scenes remain silent and still; not for long, but long enough to make you sweat. The terror of anticipation and its abrupt release, particularly in the final scene, is exhilarating.

Full Review… | October 27, 2010

It'll take quite some time to recover before you can sleep soundly without wondering if you're really alone in the room.

Full Review… | August 12, 2010

A suburban couple mess with dark spirits in the effective low budget chiller.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

Oren Peli in his feature debut has a few jolts in store, and the natural performances of the cast and the aura of reality provided by the video format keep the tension high.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Boston Phoenix

Paranormal Activity isn't an actor's film per se, but it wouldn't be as eerily effective without Featherston and Sloat's believable, lived in performances.

Full Review… | January 31, 2010
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

It's a good try.

Full Review… | January 20, 2010
Film Freak Central

I'd rank being stuck in a big quiet house at night as one of life's most easily unnerving experiences, and this movie capitalizes on it.

Full Review… | January 10, 2010
Window to the Movies

... a fairly satisfying piece of filmmaking and an overhyped piece of cult marketing.

Full Review… | January 10, 2010

Authentically unnerving, exploiting basic fears with flashes of real brilliance and creating something that lingers long in the memory -- and definitely will come back to haunt you in the dark of night.

Full Review… | December 16, 2009
Rip It Up

It's not the scariest movie I have ever seen, but it's probably the most efficient and insidious. The noises in my house never seemed so loud or inexplicable as they do after seeing this. It's a great scary treat and the filmmakers should be rewarded wi

Full Review… | December 15, 2009

Paranormal Activity boasts some scary moments, sure, but the movie cannot live up to its own hype . . .

December 15, 2009

full review at Movies for the Masses

Full Review… | December 10, 2009
Movies for the Masses

Extremely unthrilling, very obvious, very clichéd. We've seen it all before.

Full Review… | December 7, 2009
At the Movies (Australia)

When the object of the hype turns out to be as lame as this film, the whole exercise becomes just another Hollywood con job.

Full Review… | December 7, 2009
Sydney Morning Herald

Paranormal Activity is a remarkable achievement, but ultimately it's just not scary enough to be considered a horror classic.

Full Review… | December 4, 2009
Sunday Times (UK)

It never really convinces on the demonic level. Yet it does partly succeed as a relationship movie.

Full Review… | December 4, 2009
Observer [UK]

Audience Reviews for Paranormal Activity


Better than I expected but really I think im over this style of film.

John Manard

Super Reviewer


Not a monumental piece of work, but it still delivers thrills and never bores. It's basically pop-out after pop-out. It's incredibly cool watching it with the sound loud and the lights off.

Matt Goodman

Super Reviewer

Paranormal Activity is a prime example of how creativity can prevail through budget limitations; this movie is original and downright creepy.

Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer


A young couple decide to film themselves at home in the hope that it will shed light on a series of unexplained incidents. Yet another dreary, pointless entry in the Blair Witch-style wobbly-cam canon, Paranormal Activity is a pseudo documentary cataloguing a series of bumps in the night as two mildly irritating middle-class Americans are plagued by a pesky home invading demon. In its defence, the protagonists are reasonably naturalistic, the casting director thankfully steering clear of the supermodel-cum starlets that usually adorn this type of thing, although the spookiest aspect of the film is Micah Sloat's resemblance to a young Freddie Mercury. There are still plenty of opportunities for the director to have Katie Featherston and her ample cleavage run around in her underwear while the bemused Sloat threatens to kick its ghostly ass for opening and closing the door and moving their car keys while they're trying to get some kip. It all ends with the inevitable demonic "twist" and the whole thing just reminded me of one of those Victorian charlatans who reamed the gullable by organising seances with the use of cheap conjuring tricks. More laughable than dreadful, Paranormal Activity didn't really offend me, mainly because it's just such a non-event.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Paranormal Activity Quotes

I think we'll be okay now.
– Submitted by Folashade K (21 months ago)
[referring to the photograph that Micah found in the attic] Where was it when you found it?
It was over our bed.
– Submitted by Folashade K (21 months ago)
Well, basically it could be two things: it could be a ghost... [mock whisper] or it could be a demon.
Dr. Fredrichs said that it wasn't a ghost.
Well, I've been going by the evidence and I'm doin' my research and I'm going to find out what it is.
Well, whatever it is that's following me, it doesn't feel... it doesn't feel human. It feels like it's... it feels like a monster. I mean like, it wants to hurt me.
Well that sounds like, actually like a demon.
Yeah, that's what he said.
Well, 'cause ghosts are spirits of human beings.
Yeah, it's definitely not human.
Then maybe you're right, which is bad 'cause demons suck.
– Submitted by Folashade K (21 months ago)
I don't give a fuck what that thing says on the Ouija board!
– Submitted by Folashade K (21 months ago)
[after noises occur after midnight, the two get up, and Micah finds that the panel covering the opening to the attic has shifted] There's something up there. I've gotta look.
Micah! Micah, please be careful.
[There are the sounds of his footsteps, but he doesn't reply] Are you okay? Micah, answer me! Micah! Micah!
[He comes back down the ladder and holds out a photograph which has burned edges] I found this up there.
No. No no no no. Let me see it?
What are you talking about?
This is our old house! What in the hell is doing in the attic?
I thought the old house burned down.
There is no way. There is no way you found that in our attic. There is no way that that even exists! I haven't seen that picture in fifteen years. That makes no sense. That makes no sense at all.
– Submitted by Folashade K (21 months ago)
[looking at the powder he has scattered in front of the bedroom door to look for demonic footprints] That's a thing of beauty.
– Submitted by Folashade K (21 months ago)

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