Movie Review – Paranormal Activity

Answer this one question, what’s better, to see the horror? Or to imagine the horror? Your answer to this question will dictate what you think of this film.

This film is not a blood and guts horror movie, let’s get that straight right from the get go, there is very little blood and no gore. It is not a movie that is going to have you jumping in your seats like the trailer suggests, this movie wants to creep you out bit by bit making you more and more uncomfortable in your seat.

Written in the same vein as the Blair Witch project and more recently Quarantine, this docu-drama style film portrays the so called ‘real events’ that a couple lived through when dealing with paranormal activity.

When the movie starts you meet Micah (Micah Sloat) the sceptic and Katie (Katie Featherston) the victim and believer, a young couple living together who are dealing with some ghostly goings on. The boyfriend decides to buy a camera to record the events that happen through the night.

Over the span of three weeks we are shown the full spectrum of recordable ghostly goings on, from thuds and bumps, stuff moving on its own, to electrical items coming on and off.

All the frights take place in the couple’s house, the location adds to the sense of unease, your house is supposed to be your safe place, your castle. The film goes a step further with the paranormal invasion of privacy by having most of the events occurring in the bedroom, this film is trying to unnerve you by having these events take place in areas where you are supposed to feel the safest.

After a few incidents a physic is called in, he warns them not to engage the entity, stating this would be a bad idea whilst looking right at the boyfriend, if you watch this you won’t blame him the boyfriend is a real twit and then the guy leaves rather quickly.

Then guess what, the no brain boyfriend taunts the thing calling it out to give them its best shot, so it does.

As events unfold the situation escalates, the couple get more freaked out and more desperate as it builds to the ending.

Okay what did I think of the film. This movie worked for me, the film gives only a little at a time, they ran the risk of the film getting boring and for me it did not, is was a success.

This director obviously believes in subtlety, he took a less is more approach when crafting the real attraction of this film, the night time events; he gave me just enough chills a little at a time to keep me interested.

The night time events work very well, using a nice mix of effects to show the ghostly goings on, the thumps and bangs, low rumbles and shadows, to name just a few, all classics, the deadly quietness of the night scenes in the movie really drew me in and the sparse use of blood, which was a good, idea, not going overboard with the blood made the instances when it was used mean that much more,

The film creates an organic atmosphere by making use of the natural lighting of a real house at night not a stage on a lot, the only forced lighting comes from the boyfriend’s camera, this fact helps with the sense of fear, it looks like a normal house, it could be your house.

All this kept me interested and he slowly sucked me into the film as they built the tension, built up a good atmosphere of unease and fear building to the climax of the couple of payoffs sparsely scattered through the film, the payoffs worked for me they got under my skin a bit and did freak me out.

The two main stars did a good job for the most part, the chemistry between the two has its ups and downs, the dips occurred mostly when Micah and Katie were just living; however they did a bickering couple really well and scared out of their brains even better, it felt like when they had something to do in the scene they were at their best performance wise, I also got the sense that the director allowed some level of improvisation.

Katie Featherstone does a good job with her role, you instantly feel for her, at first it’s mostly because her boyfriends a twit, but after the events start to occur she suffers through the night you are right there with her, I did not enjoy Micah Sloat’s work as much; he was adequate for me, his role as the sarcastic sceptic, turning into the overprotective over aggressive defender felt off.

Some of the scenes during the day were a letdown, this is when there are a few scenes that fall short, they don’t push the plot forward, I felt like they were there to try and make the film feel like a home movie, I was not into them and wanted the story to move on, not learn that he likes to play the guitar and she likes to make her own jewellery, that said the day scenes that do focus on the daemon and serve a purpose do a good job in selling both the seriousness of the situation and the effects this is having on the couple.

Overall this was an enjoyable movie for me, it is not a movie about gore, it will not make you jump and yelp as the trailer suggests, it’s just is not that type of movie, this movie moves along at a slow pace and is trying to get under your skin, un-nerve you, make you uncomfortable and freak you out, if you like that type of movie then this could be for you, for me it did its job to a good enough degree to be a movie worth my time, as I stated at the start of this review it all comes down to how you like your horror, I like mine like this and I got a kick out of this film.

8/10

GS Reviewer: Glen Davies

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