Directed (and written) by Oren Peli, Blumhouse Productions, 2007. Starring Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat and Mark Fredricks.
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Question: Do you ever do something you really don't want to do but someone dares you? Admit it - you have! You all should know by now that I am NOT a fan of horror films, right? Well, I just watched Paranormal Activity with headphones on (as instructed) because I was sort of coaxed into it. All I will say is that I am not a happy camper right now and it's dark...and soon bedtime. Drats!
Okay..that is all I could get down of this review before I forced myself to go upstairs to bed...YAWN...I am really tired because I did not sleep well due to viewing that film. Why, you ask? Let me tell you. When almost an entire movie takes place in the home, particularly in the bedroom with creepy things like noises, banging and the sheets being taken off by some thing, it is just NOT conducive for sleeping well - at least not for this person.
So, here I am the following day after viewing yet another horror film only 8 days removed from my last one. Therefore I can't wrap my sleep deprived head around this review...coffee....ok, I am back. Where shall I begin?
First, I have to say I am more than considering changing my name now. If you find this perplexing read my review of the last horror film I viewed recently: Fright Night. I'll wait......... Got it? Good! Hearing my name over and over and over again was just too unsettling for me. ENOUGH!
Second, the story was pretty decent. It took a slightly different approach to a common horror theme. I really thought Paranormal Activity was just about a plain, old haunting. It is not. In fact, the twist the film-makers used brought a haunting to a whole new level - a level that when you think about, even after the movie, it freaks you out and sticks with you awhile.
Lastly, the way the movie was shot with the handheld camera by the characters brought more realism to the story. Sure, it reminded me of The Blair Witch Project (yes, I saw that one, really!). However, in Paranormal Activity, I did find some of the scenes a little choppy or unnecessary to the story. Some of them just seemed thrown in or perhaps I need to view it again to make sure I didn't miss something but that is not going to happen. The scare factor of Paranormal Activity is now deeply locked in my brain and will forever be there just waiting to pop out when I least expect it.
So, let me describe the scare factor a bit more for those of you who haven't seen this movie yet. Many horror films like to overdo the blood and guts or show too much of a creature. Those tricks can be scary and work well, but what is scariest, to me, is when the film-makers force you to use your imagination. Usually what we can think up is far worse than what they can show realistically.
Case in point: There is a story about problems with Bruce, the mechanical shark, used in Jaws especially with the opening scene (you know which one I am talking about). Bruce just wouldn't work no matter how hard they wanted it to so Stephen Spielberg came up with using just the fin and pulling the girl down in the water. We were supposed to see the big man-eater chomp her up but since we didn't see what was attacking her we had to imagine it. That was horrifying and that scene may go down as the all time scariest scenes on film.
So with all that said I am not going to tell you anymore about the film. Except I should say that this one will probably stick with you awhile and whatever you do, if you hear noises or voices in your house don't agitate whatever is making the noise...trust me.
My favorite thing: When I actually thought it wasn't that scary and I guessed I was finally maturing. Then...
My least favorite thing: ....I realized I was just as much of a chicken as I normally am about horror films.
Length: 86 minutes
Review: 6 out of 10