Paranormal Activity: DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review (2010)

1/02/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

"Paranormal Activity"

Written and directed by Oren Peli, 99 minutes, rated R.

By Christopher Smith

Now available on DVD and Blu-ray disc, Oren Peli chiller, "Paranormal Activity" proves that in a horror movie, often the less you see, the more intense the story.

Given Hollywood’s more-is-more sensibility, that’s a concept that long has been abandoned, and so when a movie like this comes along--regardless of how rock bottom the budget--it can make for a nicely unnerving experience if it’s handled well, as it is here.

The key to what terrifies us usually comes down to what can’t be defined by the physical. Left to our imaginations, we tend to make what isn’t there absolutely there, which is what this movie is about. It’s about the terrible little corners our imaginations creep into if given the chance, if only so they can fester and bloom.

Peli based the movie on his own script, and what he created draws obvious parallels to "The Blair Witch Project," another low-budget indie that generated as much hype, but which failed to be as unnerving as the activity unspooling here.

“Paranormal” has three main characters, only two of which we physically see. They are Micah (Micah Sloat) and his girlfriend, Katie (Katie Featherston), who live in San Diego with a roommate who isn’t exactly paying his share of the rent, though who nevertheless is paying his share of unwanted nighttime visits.

As the movie opens, we’re on the cusp of Micah and Katie’s nightmare. Micah has purchased a high-definition video camera designed to capture the paranormal activity taking place in their house--it’s through this camera that we receive our first-person view of what’s unfolding in the movie. Micah is a realist, but not so unbelieving about the things going bump in the middle of the night in their house that he’s going to ignore them.

As for Katie, well, Katie hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Micah. Ever since her house burned down when she was a child she has been visited by a ghost whose interest in her now is increasing to the point of madness. Just what kind of havoc this creature wreaks we’ll let the movie answer, but it is safe to say that when Micah and Katie go to bed at night, with the camera humming from a corner of their bedroom, you never know what it’s going to capture. And, my, does it ever capture.

Throughout the movie, there’s a lot to admire--how spare it is, how its undercurrent of horror gradually reveals itself to us and then consumes us, its genuine jolts of terror, and particularly the acting, which is trickier than some might expect.

What we’re viewing is supposed to be a homemade video, and so to pull that off in this particular story, the actors had to come off as real people aware of the camera in most scenes, annoyed by it in others, and absolutely unaware of it when they were shocked out of the moment by the presence of the otherworldly. Since so much of the dialogue was ad-libbed, the difficulty level of carrying the movie forward was even more of a challenge.

And all challenges were met.

Grade: B+

View the trailer for "Paranormal Activity" here:

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  1. Anonymous said...

    how many millions will hollywood have to lose before they figure that out

  2. Admin said...


  3. Douglas327 said...

    This movie has been on my Netflix list. Your review makes me want to see it even more. I'm going to move it to the top of the list.

  4. Anonymous said...

    seriously wanna watch this tracey1972

  5. Leshy said...

    I saw this is theaters and felt it was COMPLETELY overhyped.
    I remember hearing about this film when it had it's release of only 20 theaters nationwide, and then it goes on to become the most profitable film of all time. That's good and all but I would credit that as being mainly due to the low budget it started with, and word of mouth. Apparently people were walking out of theaters being too scared to watch.
    I admit the movie was entertaining, and at times I was in suspense. I'm not saying the movie was overrated, it deserved to have a wide release and I'm proud of attributing to it's recognition, but calling it the scariest movie of all time is a stretch in my book. If you're into scary films, this is right up your alley. If you were like me and wanted to see the so-called scariest film of all based on the hype, you might be disappointed, but that's just me.