It’s weird, but I only first heard about the new horror film PARANORMAL ACTIVITY a few weeks ago. The news of this BLAIR WITCH PROJECT type movie about a young couple and their dealings with a ghost, started appearing all over the internet. It had gotten a lot of attention at various film festivals and there was even a story about how STEVEN SPIELBERG was terrified by a screener of the film he obtained and that he was “mysteriously” locked in the room he watched it in. All of this is great hype, but the question of whether it was a good film remained to be seen. And then there was a huge screening of it in L.A. a weekend ago and the buzz of how truly frightening a film it was, began to spread like wildfire. This last Thursday, it opened at the Arclight Cinemas here in Los Angeles as midnight only screenings and I caught one of them to see for myself.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is the story of Micah and Katie, a young suburban couple that purchase a new video camera so that they can get evidence of what appears to be a pesky poltergeist that seems to be fixated on the lady of the house. The entire film is told from the camera’s perspective. It seems the couples fears are well founded as they notice strange little things that happen while they’re asleep, when they watch the playback. Strange noises and door slams are the worst of it, but when Micah scoffs at the advice of a demonologist and brings a ouija board into the house, the ectoplasm really hits the fan! It appears that rather than a ghost, they have themselves a full fledged demon and now he’s pissed off. The incidents begin to escalate in frequency and aggression and build to a terrifying climax that had me cowering in my seat like a 9 year old girl.
Much like BLAIR WITCH, this film relies heavily on sound and the dark to really create a successfully scary atmosphere. There are moments where I could actually feel my heart rate increase and I can’t remember the last time I felt anything like that watching a horror movie. It also has the best premise for why someone would continue filming the terrors they are witnessing, in that they are documenting evidence of the encounters. The reason they don’t both just leave the house is because the entity has been following Katie, wherever she goes, since she was a child. All of this adds up to a very simple and effective horror film, that is the perfect “haunted house” movie for the Halloween season. I hope this gets a wider release soon, so that everyone can experience it the best way possible, in a dark theatre with an audience. BOO!
Tags: Paranormal Activity