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Paranormal Activity (2009)

tomatometer

83

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

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.

94

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

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.

audience

56

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 271,067

My Rating

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

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Oren Peli

Dec 29, 2009

$107.9M

Paramount Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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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.

December 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop 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.

December 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (51)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

November 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Slate | Comments (2)
Slate
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Comments (12)
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 22, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Post | Comments (5)
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop 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.

June 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin
Deadspin

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

February 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Nation
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.

October 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

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

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source: CinemaBlend.com
CinemaBlend.com

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

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
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.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
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.

January 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema | Comment (1)
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

It's a good try.

January 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
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.

January 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

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

January 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Seanax.com | Comments (2)
Seanax.com

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.

December 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Rip It Up
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

December 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinerina

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

December 15, 2009 | Comments (3)
fantastiqueZINE

full review at Movies for the Masses

December 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

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

December 7, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia) | Comments (27)
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.

December 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Comments (8)
Sydney Morning Herald

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

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (UK) | Comments (5)
Sunday Times (UK)

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

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK] | Comment (1)
Observer [UK]

Audience Reviews for Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity is a prime example of how creativity can prevail through budget limitations; this movie is original and downright creepy.
January 6, 2014
MovieGeek13

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.
July 29, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

This is as terrifying as a movie going experience will ever get! Most of the film relies on suspense and holds out until the very end to really get your heart-pumping, but it is a very clever and smart piece of horror cinema and probably one of my favourite horror films of the last decade. For having a budget of a mere $15,000, I applaud the filmmakers for making such a fantastic film. It does feel like it has a few place holders to keep the audience involved, but other than that, the camera placement is phenomenal, the actors are great for hardly even having a pay grade, and the movie itself is just awesome. I love paranormal activity and the end left me begging for more!
April 14, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

    1. Katie: I think we'll be okay now.
    – Submitted by Folashade K (18 months ago)
    1. Katie: [referring to the photograph that Micah found in the attic] Where was it when you found it?
    2. Micah: It was over our bed.
    – Submitted by Folashade K (18 months ago)
    1. Micah: Well, basically it could be two things: it could be a ghost... [mock whisper] or it could be a demon.
    2. Katie: Dr. Fredrichs said that it wasn't a ghost.
    3. Micah: Well, I've been going by the evidence and I'm doin' my research and I'm going to find out what it is.
    4. Katie: 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.
    5. Micah: Well that sounds like, actually like a demon.
    6. Katie: Yeah, that's what he said.
    7. Micah: Well, 'cause ghosts are spirits of human beings.
    8. Katie: Yeah, it's definitely not human.
    9. Psychic: Then maybe you're right, which is bad 'cause demons suck.
    – Submitted by Folashade K (18 months ago)
    1. Katie: I don't give a fuck what that thing says on the Ouija board!
    – Submitted by Folashade K (18 months ago)
    1. Micah: [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.
    2. Katie: Micah! Micah, please be careful.
    3. Katie: [There are the sounds of his footsteps, but he doesn't reply] Are you okay? Micah, answer me! Micah! Micah!
    4. Micah: [He comes back down the ladder and holds out a photograph which has burned edges] I found this up there.
    5. Katie: No. No no no no. Let me see it?
    6. Micah: What are you talking about?
    7. Katie: This is our old house! What in the hell is doing in the attic?
    8. Micah: I thought the old house burned down.
    9. Katie: 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 (18 months ago)
    1. Micah: [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 (18 months ago)
View all quotes (26)

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