Sunday, October 9, 2016

1009. Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity
Directed by Oren Peli

I had a hard time deciding what I would rank this film.  On the one hand, I have seen this movie enough times that I am forced to admit it is a favorite, and thus deserving of a five star ranking.  On the other hand, some of the criticisms of this movie are too valid to ignore.  Oh well, I'll stick to my guns and award it five stars.  This degree of heroic honesty is definitely deserving of a medal.

Since as far back as she can remember, Katie has been haunted by an unknown demonic presence.  Lately, the "incidents" have gotten significantly worse, prompting Katie's boyfriend, Micah, to begin filming the house to document the paranormal activity.

I've heard a lot of people complain about the lack of scares in this movie.  True; objectively, a sheet moving on its own isn't the darkest image that has ever been conjured by horror movies.  As a personal preference, I have always enjoyed scary movies that allow the audience to come up with their own versions of the monster (i.e. The Blair Witch Project, Jaws, etc).  The shower scene in Psycho will always be more chilling to me than watching some bimbo getting her head ripped off (this was a scene in Most Likely to Die; avoid at all costs).

To that end, I enjoyed the subtlety and rising tensions of this film.  There are so many instances in horror movies where the audience feels completely removed from the characters.  We think "well, I would never go in there" or "I would never wander off alone like that."  This thinking severely limits the ability of a film to really freak us out.  However, I found Katie's actions in this movie to be pretty plausible.  Micah, on the other hand, behaved in the typical horror movie boyfriend fashion.  I might stage a haunting before I move in with a guy, just to see if he transforms into a total asshole.  I can foresee absolutely nothing going wrong with this plan.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

The ending in the film was based on a suggestion made by Steven Spielberg.

The actors improvised most of their dialogue.


  1. Stick to your own feelings Amanda .. After all, this is a personal blog, and your star rating is just about what you feel about it, not if it's a good film or not. So only moderate your scoring only when you are film critic for the Guardian ..
    For myself, I found this a poor, badly made and very boring film that failed to engage or convince me .. but, so what?

  2. As usual, I found your review very entertaining and had a few chuckles. I just don't "get" these movies. I keep trying but they don't really scare me and I find myself wondering, why? Just why? But, I agree with Ray--your blog--your rating! You do a great job!!

  3. I knew you would find this boring, Ray. And thanks Diana!

  4. Thank you! Nice to be known well enough to be predictable .. (I think)