I love the Halloween season and what better way is there to celebrate than going to see a spooky flick in a darkened movie theater? Most years there isn’t much to see aside from the latest Saw installment, but this year there’s a new freaky flick that’s risen from film festival favorite all the way to U.S. box office gold. Made on a shoestring budget by first time filmmaker Oren Peli, Paranormal Activity has made it’s way from humble beginnings to what’s now being called the new Blair Witch Project. It’s recently been declared the most profitable movie ever made (and beat out Saw for the number one spot at last week’s box office) and with all the hype and positive word of mouth I had to see this film. I pride myself on being a horror fan, although an incredibly critical horror fan, a fan nonetheless and rarely see something that impresses me but this impressed me… Not to mention it gave me some welcomed chills along the way.
Paranormal Activity is essentially a mockumentary style thriller about a young couple being tormented by a paranormal entity. It’s really that simple and through minimal effects combined with tense pacing, Paranormal Activity is a completely effective horror film with some great scares and solid acting. It’s the personal approach that makes this film feel completely genuine. Truly one of the greatest feats a movie can accomplish is distracting you from the fact that you’re watching a movie and this is where Paranormal Activity shines. It seems real and feeds off a fear that many people actually have, so it’s no surprise that it’s become the hit that it has become.
Another aspect that attracted me to this film was the claim made by critics and moviegoers alike that this movie is “the scariest movie in years.” Whenever I hear that I just got to see whether I find these claims just or everyone is a bunch of pansies. In this case Paranormal Activity is unnerving but not the scariest movie I’ve seen in awhile (I’ll address that in my next post). To be honest there’s really only one “Holy shit!” moment, though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous most of the time. Looking back I think that was the best decision, I get pissed off when a movie just dishes out a bunch of cheap scares. It’s the overall spooky experience that leaves a person truly terrified, not a second or two of a hissing black cat.
The only downside to seeing this movie is that you’ll most likely have to see it with a whole audience of both cackling and screeching teenagers. Despite the fact that it’s rated “R’ teens always seem to find a way in. A bunch of loud mouthed kids snuck into the showing I went to and I don’t think they ever did shut up. Though seeing this in a theater is probably the best way to enjoy this film, I guess the experience is both it’s gift and it’s curse. Anyhow I’m glad to say that this film lives up to the hype and in my eyes is truly inspiring. It just goes to show that anyone can make a movie as long as they have determination, ambition and a good idea, happy haunting everyone.