Paranormal Activity Oct 17, 2009 20:17:17 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Oct 17, 2009 20:17:17 GMT -5
Strange noises are heard frequently in Paranormal Activity.
Rating: 4/4 stars.
Paranormal Activity is not your typical Horror film. Theres no killer, no CGI, and thank goodness no Michael Bay. With a mere budget of $15,000 that will seemingly get you nowhere, Paranormal Activity proves wrong.
The story concerns is a young dating couple "played" by Katie Featherson and Micah Sloat. I put quotes around "played" because they are themselves in the film, and they occupy their own names. There's one flaw in their relationship. Ever since her house burned, Katie has been haunted by demons. Mainly in the late night hours. "Ghosts" slam the doors, looks of creaking sounds make up for the lack of music, and so on. The little things that make you flinch or jump in a horror film are now put in the foreground. They are the main scares of the film.
Jump scares are those little instances where one of the characters turns around or something moves really fast, usually in the night time for added effect, and you hear an effect and a loud chord from the music. Normally, I'm against them. I, however, am not against suspense. In many current horror films, jump scares come seconds before an actual murder or something along those lines. The main flaw with jump scares is now that you've jumped up and flinched two or more times, the real murder will not seem as scary.
Here's a scenario - a woman walking alone in an eerie forrest in the middle of the night. Nevermind why, but imagine she turns around once and you get a jump scare that makes you flinch. Imagine afterwards she looks the other way and you get another huge jump. Then finally, the killer comes out and attacks her. The murder doesn't seem as scary as it would with no jump scares because you clearly saw it coming. No film would deliberately tease you with loud, obnoxious jump scares if nothing would happen in that scene.
But in Paranormal Activity, those jump scares are what we are waiting for. The suspense comes from the silence and the lack of music - we are waiting for something to make a loud noise so we can jump. Only in maybe two scenes I recall something actually happening that goes beyond a jump scare. It was the equivalent to a murder in a slasher film.
The way the film is shot too does nothing but add to the creepy vibe. I've always been a huge fan of shot-on-video horror films, meaning the film is shot with a handheld camcorder and no tripod. Someone in the film is holding it and filming it first person style. The same thing worked in 1999 when the horror film that shocked many The Blair Witch Project came out. While mocked now, the film is without a doubt eerie and is still filmed very realistically.
The less you the better about Paranormal Activity the better, which is why I tried to shy away from major plot points and discoveries. I assume that maybe in ten years this will be looked seen as "silly" and "stupid," but frankly, if you think about the realism, the quality, and the acting in the film, it's all believable, captivating, and powerful. It achieves many goals in elements that can easily be ruined in films like these. It at least deserves credit for that.
Starring: Katie Featherson and Micah Sloat. Directed by: Oren Peli.