Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Capsule Review: Paranormal Activity (2007)

Paranormal_Activity_posterNearly a decade after The Blair Witch Project took the film world by storm, the found footage genre exploded once again with the release of this micro ($15,000) budget  shocker. Utilizing a simple but ingenious concept – a couple decide to videotape themselves sleeping to attempt and witness unusual behaviour – the film takes two strong performances and some minor but effective special effects and manages to create an appropriately creepy and unpredictable atmosphere. Repeat viewings may not reap similar rewards, but director Oren Peli deserves credit for knowing just what buttons to push and manages to create some memorably shocking images considering the necessarily stationary camera. Followed by a more flashy but less effective sequel, and a bevy of imitations.


J.T. said...

The first PA was quite creepy.

The second film is still somewhat effective but has to add a lot of new twists to get the same scare from PA's gimmick.

REC and PA raised the bar considrably for the horror mockumentary.

NOROI raises it slightly higher, but I will cover that in a future review.

Doug Tilley said...

As with any movie of this type (found footage, or extremely low budget film that finds a ton of success) there was plenty of backlash from folks who had their expectations raised to impossible levels. I think the first film was just really efficient, and threw the audience right into things while spreading out the creepiness really effectively. I didn't really care much for the sequel, since it felt to me that it lost that balance and the "big" scares seemed to be drawn out. I also didn't care for the ending.

Definitely looking forward to your thoughts on NOROI.