Monday, October 26, 2009

Paranormal Activity - 4 out of 4 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: Folks who like movies that are scary but without large amounts of blood and gore

Best Mood to Walk In With: Prepared to not sleep

Don't See This Movie If: You want a big effects thriller

Paranormal Activity proves itself as the little movie that could. With a budget less than $15k, this film manages to pack in the creepies while also finishing glossier and more Hollywood than its Blair Witch predecessor.

The beauty is surprisingly found in the simplicity. It doesn't take big time effects, terrifying monsters, or scenes of carnage to give you the willies. Instead, the film shows you every day life. Things that all of us have had happen around us before...flickering lights, rumbling noises, swaying doors, nightmares...they all take a more ominous tone with the insertion of a demonic explanation. Perhaps it is the normality of so many of the situations that begins to haunt us, so that when the really supernatural occurs we are ready to jump.

The fact that this movie is a "documentary" and begins with an acknowledgment of the victim's families and ends with no credits is one of the cleverest things I've seen a horror movie do. Even while you're reminding yourself that it was just a movie in your car ride home, you're still able to doubt. The actors in the movie are natural, Katie in particular. And unlike Blair Witch, the "guerrilla" footage won't make you motion sick.

Paranormal Activity also expands on the fears almost everyone has as a child and turns them into reality. Who wasn't nervous about your foot coming out from under the covers and the monsters that lived under the bed getting you? Also inventive is the way the filmmakers make use of the concept of time. Simply watching the timestamp fastforward quickened my heart, because I knew something scary was about to happen. I was like Pavlov's dog, my body trained to react in fear even if nothing was coming.

Please Don't Miss: The ending. It is a true culmination of the entire movie. (After Steven Spielberg saw the original footage, he suggested the ending that made the widely released version.)
Keep Your Eyes Open For: The Ouija board scene terrified me
You're Sure To Laugh When: The expert booking it out. LOL.

All in all, for a movie that was filmed in one week, Paranormal Activity is incredibly effective and one of the best scary movies I've seen. After a sleepless night of trying to keep every body part in the direct center of my bed, I'm still excited about the sequel. :)

Movies Are Life. ~ K

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