Paranormal Activity (2009) - Oren Peli

Paranormal Activity is a terrifying look at uber-realistic horror. The movie is filmed in a found footage style that suits the surrounding story and creates a 1 on 1 experience for the viewer. This is the staple for this franchise. Due to this more realistic approach in the horror genre, you have large pockets of downtime that allow the viewer to connect with the characters before being tossed to the ghosts again. It has been panned on several occasions for being too boring and bland. However, I really like the downtime and look at it as more of an opportunity for me to recharge my batteries before being terrorized again.

This movie is really smart and perfect for audiences in a dark theater. It really loses most of its luster when you bring it home. In the theater this movie can experiment with your senses. The crashes and bumps were some of the most intense and agitating sounds to hear while waiting for the next thing to jump out at you or creep you out. When you see it in the theater you can hear the bass being used as a tool to build up the suspense and it does it really well.

This is the first installment of what I am predicting to be a future straight-to-video franchise. The plot revolves around a new young couple that moves into a supposedly haunted house in San Diego. The found footage comes from the husband that is enamored with catching a ghost on his camera and films the couple while they sleep. Needless to say. Some really creepy stuff happens that involves ghosts, demons, and crazy possession. Really a good story.

The movie has a really interesting background too. It gained huge viral popularity on the internet before finally being released in a wide market. It was filmed with three separate endings that are each pretty scary.

"Well, basically it could be two things: it could be a ghost... or it could be a demon."

  • The film was made for $15,000 and made $193,355,800.
  • The film was given a PG-13 rating in Australia for the lack of gore. 
  • During showing on the festival circuit some patrons walked out of the theater. Oren Peli thought that they didn't like the movie. However, he found out that they were walking out because they were scared.