Paranormal Activity (2007) – Oren Peli

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At face value, we have the Blair Witch meets The Exorcist meets Poltergeist. It’s a new(ish) twist on a haunting/demon possession using the first person film style made popular by the Blair Witch Project. The film takes place entirely inside the house of a young couple as a malevolent being tortures them with increasingly terrifying ghostly clichés.

In the story, the woman claims to have been followed by this ghostly entity her whole life. Of course, the boyfriend doesn’t believe her, but he buys a video camera anyway in the hopes of documenting something strange. He sets the camera up in their bedroom and some creepy stuff happens overnight. They look at the tapes in the morning and the girl gets more scared while the guy gets excited. The intensity of these phenomena escalates and the woman starts to lose her mind.

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The thing that bugs me the most is that the dude is never really scared. At first he’s actually amused but the little things- door opening and closing by itself, small items moving around the house. But some actual scary shit is going on and his response is to get cocky and say “I’ve got it under control.” He refuses to call the psychic or the demon expert and he continues to go against their advice.

That all being said, there is definitely some good creepy stuff going on and the night vision of the camera makes it even better. The first person gimmick still holds a little water. Even though we know that it’s fake, the fact that it’s shot in that style makes your brain want to believe it.

  1. Is it scary: 6. There were a few shock moments that make you jump in your seat and a bit of creepiness with the camera work but overall, I’d let my little sister watch it before bed.
  2. Originality: 4. They worked a few classic styles together to make something a little bit new but there was nothing really fresh there. It was just a revamp of already successful ideas.
  3. Blood: 2. Almost no blood at all.
  4. Believability: 6. Other than the way the boyfriend reacts to what’s happening, it felt pretty believable. The girl did a good job making be believe she was scared.  
  5.  Setting/Cinematography: 8. This is probably the best part of the movie. During the scary parts, everything is dark and you can only see what’s lit by the night vision or the light mounted on the top of the camera. Definitely added to the effect.

Final Score: 26/50

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