‘Paranormal Activity’: Love it or Hate it, It’s a Seminal Film (review)

Katie (Katie Featherston) and her boyfriend Micah (Micah Sloat) are experiencing odd events in their home, like hearing footsteps and voices they can’t identify. Katie suspects that the demonic presence that’s been following her since she was eight has something to do with it. So she and Micah film themselves during the day and set up a camera in their bedroom at night to catch the spectral happenings. What they find is disturbing: their door closing by itself, eerie voices, and worst of all, a possessed Katie.

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The lifelong demonic presence seems like a no-brainer to me

It’s all done on hand-held camera, like The Blair Witch Project, and similarly the actors use their real names. This method contributes to the creepiness of the movie, which claims to be actual found footage (though the end credits state, “The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictitious”). Whether or not it’s true, the dialogue sounds natural and the actors look like real people. Unlike The Haunting in Connecticut, also supposedly a true story, this film doesn’t feel Hollywood-ish, from the budget to the plot.

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The pacing is a bit slow, and it can be dull at times (my unflappable sister Suzy was bored the entire movie), but that only contributes to the authentic feel—real life is comprised of lots of boring moments.

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Watching your bf sleep…

The nighttime scenes are cleverly filmed, showing the entire night on time-lapse video, so we have to watch carefully so as not to miss something. Then we’re rewarded by eerie things like Katie standing over Micah and watching him sleep for hours. Speaking of which, Micah is a rather frustrating presence in the movie; he’s determined that since it’s his home, he will save Katie (rather than an exorcist or psychic professional). He tends to challenge the demon by shouting, “Show yourself!” or trying to communicate with it (as he was expressly told not to do, as it will only give the demon a stronger foothold—or hoof-hold, as the case may be). Indeed, he almost seems to enjoy the goings-on, making statements like, “We haven’t had anything interesting happen in a while.” He’s a walking horror movie no-no.

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No-no, Micah! Bad boy!

I had heard multiple reviews of the film—most that it was scary—before actually getting to watch it. I was not disappointed. Give it a look if you want a movie with a creepy, genuine feel.

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I said creepy, not terrifying! Who ARE these people?

Published by GhoulieJoe

I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

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