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Plot: After a young, middle class couple moves into a suburban 'starter' tract house, they become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be somehow demonic but is certainly most active in the middle of the night. Especially when they sleep. Or try to. Runtime: 86 mins Release Date: 07 Jan 2007
First movie that has ever physically affected me... (by ash2k)
Not only is this gem-of-an-indie-film, 'Paranormal Activity' the scariest movie I have ever seen, it is the most horrifying experience I have ever been a part of. 'Paranormal' begins when a young man purchases a camera to record the paranormal phenomena that his live-in girlfriend has been reporting to have been experiencing. His purchase of the camera is out of naivety, and we soon find out he is more interested in electronics than the strange occurrences that seem to be haunting his partner. As the film progresses, the ghostly happenings become more and more apparent and <more>
intensify while the hand-held camera documents them and the terror of the young couple. The genius, center, heart, and terror of this film lie in the realism of the performances. The actors who portray the couple are so convincing and so natural, you feel as if you are watching an actual homemade video. They do not follow the usual "shaky-cam movie" model of acting in which the performances often try so hard to be "real" that they are over-done and come off as a cheap imitation of as what is assumed would be somebody else's reaction to that scenario. Contrary-wise, we believe as an audience, that "Paranormal"'s characters are true to themselves, and the decisions they make and the things they say are true expressions of how the actors themselves would feel if they had been placed in the same situation. Thus, instead of feeling like you are watching actors in a movie portraying someone else, you feel as if are watching two actual people in an actual haunting scenario. You recognize that everything they say and do would be an actual reaction you could imagine yourself giving in response to that scenario. This produces an extremely uneasy effect in which you cannot escape out of their terror-filled world because you feel, yourself, that you are in it. There-in lies the key to this brilliant film.The other key is the agonizing, yet wonderful uses of suspense and the imagination. The director does not assume his audience is a dull, thoughtless bunch, dependant on gore, sex, and explosions to be thrilled. Rather, in true Hitchcockian fashion, he fully utilizes the concept that imagining the "man with the axe" is far more terrifying than seeing the "man with the axe." We are forced to constantly think about what we just experienced. In some cases, blink, and you will miss something. Subliminal shocks are everywhere, so not only are your conscious senses attacked, your psyche is brutally terrorized. This makes, in one instance, viewing a completely empty room in dead silence for 30 seconds or more turn out to be one of the most horrifying scenes in the entire film. If you think about, just seeing an empty, silent room does not seem scary at all, but there-in lies the genius of this film: That something that simple can scare you down to the deepest core of emotion.If you've read any of the other reviews for 'Paranormal Activity', you will notice almost all of them mention that a viewer will not be able to sleep after watching it. I will make my review one of them. You will not sleep if you see this movie. Not only is it terrifying, it's thought-provoking. Then when you think about it, you are terrified all over again. Don't believe me? Go ahead, watch it. I dare you.
Absolutely terrifying, possibly the scariest film I have ever seen. (by applefanatic)
After just witnessing a special showing of this spectacularly terrifying film, I can say without a doubt, that I will not be sleeping tonight. What starts out as a somewhat slow paced film quickly turns into a horrifyingly intense portrayal of a young couple that is be "visited" by something sinister. The tension builds ever so slowly, the camera roles on filming their day and night activities. This tension reaches the point where even the slightest flicker, movement, or shadow makes you want to fly out of your seat. The beauty of this film is that nothing is revealed too quickly <more>
the director lets the previous events simmer and settle with the audience before revealing more. Rarely do films leave me so terrified that I am shaking after they have ended. Paranormal Activity is an exception to this. I highly recommend this film to all those that want to be scared out of their wits.
Greatest "Shakey Cam" movie ever. (by spoilingfilms)
I must admit I am a huge horror fan, being proud to say that nothing phases me. But as I gripped my girlfriends hand near pain, every time the characters went to sleep. I found myself happy and scared out of my mind. This film is that great. The film begins with the usual introduction of characters, and the problem they are having. After the initial twenty minutes, the movie quickly picks up and we get a glimpse of the so called problem. What really makes this film shine above the rest, is the fact that the characters are really relatable for anyone in a relationship you find yourself <more>
feeling for the two. This and the simple fact that the gripping tension each night they fall asleep is the perfect formula to hold the audiences attention.I caught this film at a screening in Glendale. If you get a chance to see this please do so before they remake it and it loses it's independent touch.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is THE most popular movie of the year and will ultimately be regarded as one of the best horror movies of all time. Therefore, PA has warranted a HUGE debate on whether it sucks or not.Under this pretense, I have divided this review into 3 sections: 1 for the things in the movie that work, 1 for the things that don't, and 1 for the summation.******THE GOOD******************************1. Originality - not a cheap knockoff or a member of Hollywood's non-stop horror remake/reboot wave. That is a game winner right there! Comparable to the Blair Witch Project, PA has <more>
received a lot of flack as being a rip off of BWP. Taken into consideration, the film's only real similarity to BWP is the use of home camera/1st person footage, and non-professionals inducing reactions from the supernatural world. That said, you have to answer yourself a question: Would you rather see another Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, or a completely original off-BWP type film?2. Suspense and Tension - the film does not rely on cheap scares and loud noises deafening you to induce the desire reaction of fear. Nor does it have the smallest fraction of gore/sex/exploitation compared to most of today's horror movies. If you prefer horror movies that usually don't stick with you and follow you out of the theater, then skip it by all means. The film gives you a few inches, and leaves your imagination to finish the mile.A suggestion on viewing the film: If you want to get the most out of Paranormal Activity, then DO NOT see it in the local theater on a Friday night. We all know what happens when you are in a theater with middle and high school kids during a horror movie. To fully immerse yourself in the movie, see it with your significant other, by yourself, or with just a couple of friends at a time when the theater is the least crowded. Try to see it at night, or at home in the dark. This film invades the sanctity of one's bedroom, and the old tactic of pulling the covers over your head doesn't work.3. Special Effects - even on a small budget, the film provides some very impacting scenery. Some effects are blatantly obvious, and some of the best effects are actually the most subtle. 4. Acting - the movie is well acted considering it is full of unknowns. The characters are not obnoxious like most horror movie protagonists. They appear genuine and very convincing in most of the film. But in some scenes, not so much. More below.5. Plot - there is a pleasant oxymoron surprise with the direction the film went regarding the source of the phenomena. It's not your typical ghost or haunted house story. I will not embellish on this as it will spoil the movie for those who haven't or are deciding to see the movie.******THE NOT SO GOOD***********************1. Writing - this is actually a 50/50 split. The 'supernatural' scenes are very convincing considering the subject matter, whether scripted or improvised. However, the dialog and character motivation/action during the 'down time' is unrealistic at times. This is a large complaint by those who didn't like the movie. Although the film is a large departure from teen filled slasher movies, the characters at times seem to be just as brainless as the teens getting whacked by Jason. There is a lot of "WHY DIDN'T THEY JUST....?" scenes in the movie.2. Acting - like the writing, the acting seems to suffer in the 'down time'. Fortunately, during the important scary scenes, the acting is spot-on, and very convincing. However, you might be taken out of the movie when the protagonists are interacting with each other during the in-between scenes, and the authenticity of their relationship is questionable in some parts.3. Scenery - granted that the whole movie is filmed in or on the characters' house, the static viewpoint of the camera gets a little boring. With all the phenomena going on, it would have been refreshing to see things from a different angle, especially in the bedroom. Fortunately, this doesn't hinder the movie, just a minor complaint.******AS A HORROR FAN***********************Follow the suggestions above regarding with who, where and how to watch the movie. Seen under the right circumstances, and with the right state of mind, the film can be very effective, and having you looking over your shoulder when you turn out all the lights in the house, and crawl into bed. For this reason, I fully endorse this movie as a new member of the horror family. Fresh and original, the movie deserves all of the attention it is getting.Let this be a glaring message to Hollywood that originality is still the craved for in the movie industry. Horror fans have grown tired of having their favorite classics butchered and pointlessly remade. Directors and producers do not deserve revenue for just upping the violence and sexual gratification of old horror movies.The film's success is also a great indication that as a population, movie goers respond better to thought provocative subjects than mindless in-your-face cannon fodder. It relieves me to some degree to see that tension-fear based horror movies still have the chance to take the cake. Especially on such a small budget. Well Done, producers, directors, and actors. 8/10
"Paranormal" is extra-ordinary (by otis von zipper)
I was fortunate to see this film about a year ago, and have become curious as to why it still has not seen the light of day. A little research has indicated it still might.The storytelling here is simple but also inspired. Young couple Katie and Micah plan to film their home at night while sleeping in hopes of capturing evidence of a ghost that seems to haunting them, or more precisely Katie, since this is not the first time she has experienced these type of visitations. We watch the footage of the young couple sleeping and gradually things do start to happen. Katie and Micah also film <more>
themselves discussing the situation, a visit from a spiritualist, and a few other random moments. Doesn't sound like much, right? Or that it could possibly be the slightest bit scary. Well, Oren Peli's little indie film is everything a scary movie should be. In other words, it is indeed very scary.Peli accomplishes the improbable through utilizing tension, character and imagination. The found footage concept used in the movie, a la "Blair Witch", "Cloverfield" and the recent "Quarantine", is perhaps slightly more effective in this situation. It's usually a still camera with things sometimes occurring just beyond what we can see. The result is a heightened sense of reality and a greater sense of dread as to what those sounds could be. We've all been there. We here a noise out in the dark and are frightened by the unknown. Peli seems to understand this greatly and uses it to great effect. When the camera does move it is often done slowly, perhaps in an effort to avoid the shaky-cam effect, but it also helps create greater tension.But perhaps the one element most important to this film's success is the performance by Katie Featherston. In the beginning we meet a sweet young woman who has concerns about what could be happening to her. Perhaps a metaphor for fears regarding her relationship with Micah and their new home. As we approach the final scenes, Katie has been reduced to a person on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and we are deeply concerned for her well being. Each night as our young couple goes off to sleep we experience a deeper and greater dread that something bad is going to happen, and we don't like it. It helps that Ms. Featherston is an unknown it's difficult to imagine caring this way about a recognizable actor but her ability to create a believable and sympathetic character is remarkable and turns an effective thriller into something extraordinary.It's not often that a movie will truly have me on the edge of my seat. Watching it I was reminded of those days long ago when I first saw "The Exorcist", "Halloween" and "Alien"; movies that have stayed with me over time as moments spent in a theatre genuinely frightened. It doesn't happen that often anymore, movies are either too gimmicky or too unbelievable or too music video flashy to get to me. But a little movie made with no money and no special effects did. To the cast and crew of "Paranormal Activity" - Thank you! p.s. with regards to the future of this movie, the latest news is that it will be released and not remade as earlier planned. No idea when that will happen, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this special little film doesn't get left on a shelf.
A Theatre Experience I'll Never Forget. (by Matt_Layden)
A couple decide to document their nights while they sleep, after they hear strange noises that they believe to be a haunting.I respect this film, for the fact that it was shot for less than 20,000, had absolutely no marketing campaign and has become a huge success based on word of mouth and the audience demanding to see it. If only other studios would follow suit and listen to people demanding to see movies they want to see, maybe there wouldn't be so much crap out there. Paranormal Activity is shot like Cloverfield, Blair Witch Project, REC, Cannibal Holocaust, etc. If any of those films <more>
gave you motion sickness, you might want to skip this one. Half the film is shot while they sleep, so the film is on a tri-pod, the other half is them walking around with it. So if you've never been a fan of those films, skip this one. Second, the film is not as scary as people make it out to be. Instead, it is one creepy and suspenseful film, that seeing in a theatre, only heightened my enjoyment of it. The audience I went with, all had a collective "Oh My God". I could hear it every time something creepy happened. You could literally feel everyone in the theatre holding their breath every time they went to sleep. Again, if you are the type of person who wants to watch a film and not hear a peep out of anyone else, skip this film.Now the film itself, shot in one week, small very small budget and every penny of it went towards the special effects. The special effects are what sell the film, if you don't buy them, the film will not creep you out. They looked real and impressive enough to push the film into a successful goal, which is to scare people. If you are already afraid of the dark, this film will not help you. Every creek, thump, noise you hear in your house will now have you thinking twice. Less is more, The Blair Witch Project uses this, as does Paranormal Activity. The two leads, are haunted by a demon, one we never see, only hear. Whenever you go into a horror film, as a kid you would close your eyes in fear. Big mistake, because it's the ears you need to be covering. The sound is what makes you jump, hear nothing, fear nothing. The sound design behind this film is what is scary people, accompanied by the visuals memorable scenes with the powder and bed sheets .As the film progresses, the haunting gets worse. I don't want to give anything away, and I urge you to not watch the trailer. I watched the trailer and was waiting for those things to happen, it took away from the general fear. Not knowing what to expect will make this film that much better, that much creepier and that much more entertaining. I didn't expect it to be as funny as it was either, the lead male had some comic relief dialogue, the ease the tension. The couple are believable, the hand held camera angle works here and the fear will set in. I applaud Paranormal Activity, for not only becoming an unheard of success, but for being one of the creepiest films I've ever seen.Bravo.