Paranormal Activity Review
I’ve seen Cloverfield, Quarantine and Blair Witch Project but none of their shaky cams bothered me. Now Paranormal Activity actually made me puke in a trash can, no joke.
So this is not one of those movies you sneak a sandwich into, FYI.
Basically it’s a pretty simple ghost movie helped immensely by the restraint of the filmmakers, who are sure to keep the payoffs to a minimum and the atmosphere to a maximum.
It’s about a couple, who we are informed through opening titles had something bad happen to them in “real life”. Coincidentally, the “real life” couple has the same names of the actors. Hmmm.
The girl, Katie, has been haunted by some spirit since she was little and now the haunting is starting to affect her relationship with Micah, her live-in boyfriend.
He sets up a camera to record them sleeping, providing a rare stationary setting for the camera in the film.
In a lot of ways the rest of the film does sort of come off as filler, even in a shorter film like this the majority is just Micah and Katie chatting and/or arguing, but those conversations do provide a necessary relationship and backstory base to payoff the scares.
And some of those scares really do payoff, a couple in particular do a really nice job of seamlessly incorporating some modest FX to great effect.
I don’t want to give away anything, because the movies couple surprises and jolts are worth enjoying fresh. Actually I’d advise people interested not to read anything about the movie before seeing it.
Does it work? Probably not completely, but it’s entertaining and ends on a satisfying note.
I saw it with a packed house, and I’d agree with A.O. Scott of the NY Times that that’s the best way to see it, with a house full of people screaming. Without that audience participation vibe, you might just get a headache from all the shaky cam and find it long-winded in reaching the scares.
Bottom line here is if you like this sort of thing, bumps in the night and whatnot, you should be entertained