Paranormal Activity This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 5, 2009
I must admit that, as a film critic, it took me a bit to decide on how felt about this film. This isn't to say the film wasn't good, because it most definitely was, it just took me some time to realize HOW good it was. I do enjoy the POV style of film, despite the hate it gets from the more traditional film critics/fans/etc as well as the fact that recent POV movies have been on the rotten side, in terms of quality. Quarantine and Diary of The Dead instantly come to mind as example of said rotten POV films. While I go on with this topic of discussion, it's on to the review...

The film revolves around a young couple by the names of Micah and Katie who must deal with paranormal activity that has followed Katie since she was a young girl. While the paranormal phenomena hasn't been constant, appearing only at the ages of 8 and 13, the activity resurfaces with no explanation as to why. Convinced of these supernatural experiences, despite Micah's skepticism, the couple eventually gets a camera to hook up in the bedroom so that, in case such paranormal activity occurs while they're asleep, they'll have definite proof of it.

While these occurrences begin simply, with small footsteps on the floor, they slowly spiral into horrifying and terrible experiences, with the couple not knowing how to avoid these attacks. It's never explained what pursues Katie, or why for that matter, but it's that uncertainty and the atmosphere of the unknown that truly delivers on the frights and terror. For those lovers of modern horror, you'll probably be disappointed. There isn't any gore, body count, or insane chainsaw-wielding maniacs to be found here. Only the essence of tension and fear for the characters' lives that threatened to be consumed by the dark, unspeakable nature of the unknown.

Normally, I would comment on visuals or acting, but that would spoil the "it's a true story" aspect of the film. It's because we believe this story to be true, and the fact that we're given tremendous amounts of time to "know" and like the characters presented, that we actually fear what's around the corner. Not only because what may lay beyond may be truly terrifying, but because we fear for the lives of these characters.

I do, however, have some complaints. Firstly, the film feels a need to re-show what we just watched through the couple watching what happened overnight, as if the audience missed what just happened. This feels almost like an insult to the viewer's intelligence, as if they expect the fact that we're not really paying attention. Nextly, the ending was very anti-climatic. This is coming from the guy who enjoyed the ending to The Blair Witch Project, an ending that seems to be universally disliked by the film community. I won't give away what happens, but the film tries to be more like a pop-horror film by having something jump at the camera/you. This totally goes against the unnerving atmosphere of the film, what with rising and falling couches, Ouija boards bursting into flames, dark, gruesome voices calling from the dark, etc.

Despite some flaws, Paranormal Activity succeeds in shocking and frightening its audience after 30+ years of awful, cheesy, and overly gory "horror".

8.5 - Great





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mamableu said...
Nov. 18, 2009 at 10:24 am
Having heard a great deal about the potential "fear factor" of this film, I had fully intended never to see it, although perhaps I will when it comes out on DVD. I have a question as a novice; what is POV? I like the reference to Blair Witch, which had only a modicum of success at its peak. I enjoyed your successful attempts to visually engage the readers with imagery from the film. Looking forward to more by this author!
 
KelseyRose replied...
Oct. 27, 2011 at 8:36 am
POV is Point Of View...
 
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