Paranormal Activity Reviews
Watching from certain camera angles gives the film a great chill factor. Personally the footsteps are the best bit, hearing things running across the hall/downstairs and then when they actually see a footprint, makes for a great horror. I find that Insidious and Paranormal Activity are compared alot because of the sub-genre they both reside in. Insidious definitely has scarier moments but paranormal is more consistent with theirs plus the story is more gripping.
When a film has such a small cast good acting is required even more, not to say the acting is superb but its believable enough to make this film be rated for what it is without acting being a factor.
Working with the budget they had, they did a superb job. It's definitely a step in the right direction for found footage films, although as the sequels go on they get worse and worse, which to be fair is normal for horror movies. They're just trying to squeeze every pound they can out of it now.
I'd say it should be on any film buffs watch list, it does something different to other horrors, the found footage aspect makes it seem real.
One word that could sum not just this film, but the series as whole, is polarizing. As the first Paranormal Activity was growing in popularity, the film was heavily advertised as one of the scariest movies of all time, that in and of itself creates false pretence as it couldn't be farther from the truth. I do not consider myself much of a believer in the paranormal, so that may have tampered my experience with the film, nevertheless I can understand why someone would be frightened by this movie, however it is definitely not a horrific movie. It's totally easy to see why many people are so divided about this series, one side views the movies as a realistic depiction of paranormal occurrences and the other just sees a bunch of people shaking a camera around and slamming doors for an hour and a half. I consider pretty neutral with the issue, there are moments where certain events do get under my skin, however thinking back to it I realize how stupid it is.
Now the first Paranormal Activity movie plays out almost like a psychological thriller, a lot is left up the imagination and you see the effect of the events taking a toll on the characters. There isn't a lot that happens in the movie, the viewer is basically confined to the house for the entire runtime and you do a lot of analyzing, asking yourself "is that shadowy figure, or is it my imagination?", "did that lamp just move or am I going insane?", and this is probably where my biggest issue arises from. I've seen Paranormal Activity a handful of times, and each viewingI keep a careful eye trying to see if I can pick up on any background things, however every time, I come up with nothing. For a movie that heavily relies on the viewer examining what's going on, there just isn't a lot there. You'd think that with a movie about a ghostly haunting that features these long drawn out scenes, the filmmakers would include subtle activity in the background to create even more of a frightening experience. Sadly they don't, and everything you get is at face value. Other problems that face the movie are, the acting, slow scenes, badly improvised dialogue, odd cuts, etc, most of these issues are constricted to the screenplay and low budget, so some of it is forgivable.
Overall Paranormal Activity isn't a horrible film by any stretch of the imagination, it's easy to see both sides of the argument, however I lean more towards it being a pretty decent time. It's a watchable film that does have some good scenes of intensity, particularly the hallway scene where Micah uses baby powder, that was definitely an effective sequence that did get under my skin. As with most films it isn't perfect and it's not something I can recommend to everybody, you have to know what you're getting yourself into and although I was never frightened by it, I do enjoy watching this movie from time-to-time, so for the reason I'm giving Paranormal Activity a 6/10.
What's really scary is if it wasn't for Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat's continuity that made their performance a frontrunner for the audience, the rest of the film may not have been so successful as it is today.