Paranormal Activity

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Young San Diego couple purchase a camcorder to document the "entity" — diagnosed by a psychic as a demon, not a ghost — that has haunted the female on and off since girlhood. Dirt-cheap digital horror film builds, not too high, to some effective frissons. The fixed-position camera during sleeptime approaches almost a structuralist rigor. Capably acted by Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat (in the roles of "Katie" and "Micah"); written and directed by Oren Peli. (2009) — Duncan Shepherd

Rated R | 1 hour, 39 minutes
Official Website


This movie is not currently in theaters.


"It's hard to be scared when you just want the "entity" to kill them already"

LOL. Seriously, that was fwunny. :D

I thought this was probably the scariest film I've ever seen. That's probably because I know a lil' bit about stuff that I'm pretty sure you don't recognize at all, samiracle. The nonsensical behavior of this film's invisible leading man was right on the money, based on reports throughout the centuries. Demons seem to do a lot of s*** just for lulz. 'Cuz, ya know, they're evil and stuff.

But yeah, you've gotta have annoyingly stupid protagonists in a horror flick. If they're the least bit intelligent, it just doesn't work. I also thought Katie and Micah were great.

Nov. 9, 2009

A myriad bubbles were floating on the surface of a stream. 'What are you?' I cried to them as they drifted by. 'I am a bubble, of course' nearly a myriad bubbles answered, and there was surprise and indignation in their voices as they passed. But, here and there, a lonely bubble answered, 'We are this stream', and there was neither surprise nor indignation in their voices, but just a quiet certitude.

Nov. 7, 2009

And here and there, a really scary-looking bubble that was following a really innocent-looking one said, "Go to sleep and find out."


Nov. 8, 2009

The purely accidental and serendipitous birdwalking into an almost "structuralist rigor" doesn't make a difference when it adds nothing to the film. Those are the most egregious examples of the terrible writing on display here- worst, they are the most boring scenes in the picture, and they were supposed to be frightening! (Why the hell would this demon entity thing bother biding it's time playing stupid pranks? if it wants the girl for itself why would it waste time possessing her, just to make her do stupid things like wanting to sleep on the rocking bench in the backyard, or standing around in her sleep for half an hour? Why wouldn't it just do what it does at the end of the movie if it wanted nothing more than to have the guy out of the way, instead of this protracted nonsense that accomplishes nothing?) The movie doesn't deliver anything but annoyance at the characters' convenient stupidity and the script's reliance on stupidity for its forward momentum. It's hard to be scared when you just want the "entity" to kill them already, instead of wishing for the protagonists to vanquish it. I'm shocked you gave it two stars frankly- this was worse than a dozen "antipathies" put together, and felt like a bigger ripoff than anything else this year. AND you even complimented that God-awful acting!? Have I wandered into a parallel universe? Are you still punch-drunk from the ecstatic experience of A SERIOUS MAN?

Nov. 8, 2009

"That's probably because I know a lil' bit about stuff that I'm pretty sure you don't recognize at all, samiracle. The nonsensical behavior of this film's invisible leading man was right on the money, based on reports throughout the centuries. Demons seem to do a lot of s*** just for lulz"

So you're saying when demons want something specific, instead of directing their actions towards accomplishing their goals, they do something else that doesn't accomplish anything and then just hope that eventually what they want will happen until it gets fed up with waiting and just goes for it? That sounds like a wishy-washy teenager more than a supernatural being. This movie tried to pass off a hodgepodge of demon/spirit/entity behavior lifted from paranormal detective shows and several other crappy movies, as opposed to presenting any general philosophy or point of view (with an unconvincing and unlikable couple as our protagonists to boot). You DON'T need stupid protagonists in a horror film. You need characters whose actions you can get behind instead of characters whose actions you disavow completely. That is, if you expect people to remember the movie when the marketing campaign withers away. Terrible writers just can't come up with anything else to keep the story going, and that's the problem here. But what do you expect when the writer/director's self-admitted inspiration was shows like Ghost Hunters? He wanted to make a quick buck and he did, and now his reliance on marketing gimmicks is hurting his efforts to sell us a sci-fi movie next (called, guess what,- Area 51!), because the studios aren't convinced his work will make money without a full-scale marketing assault on the intelligence of the American movie-goer. He's already exhausted that idea, and apparently has no others.

Nov. 12, 2009

I agree with antigeekess. Paranormal Activity was one of the scariest movies I've ever seen. It was frightening in a good way, not like some of the horror films that depend on gratuitous, gory violence. I like scary movies that come with Alfred Hitchcock-esque or Rod Serling-style suspense. One of my favorite shows from the seventies was a series called Night Gallery, a slightly scarier drama than Twilight Zone, with different weekly stories, also hosted by Rod Serling. I thought Paranormal Activity worked because it was all about the suspense. I thought the time-lapsed video photography really enhanced the sense of suspense. I kept watching the clock on the video camera footage and was constantly thinking, "When is this thing going to show itself?" Some of the suspense was caused by the mere fact that in some scenes, not much actually happened. After those scenes, I could hear people in the audience laughing nervously, murmuring and letting out their breath. The other aspect of the movie that I liked was that the couple seemed very real. Not stupid or smart or anything else. They just seemed like everyday common people, but not necessarily your favorite people. They were like folks I’ve worked with, people who are my acquaintances and people I have observed at parties and airports and grocery stores, just regular people. The couple in this movie bickered a lot, which reminded me of countless folks I've known over the years. The couple's slightly dysfunctional relationship is one of the things that made the movie kind of funny. In between the scenes of the couple bickering, there are super-scary suspense-filled scenes that take place in the middle of the night after the couple has gone to bed. Even though not much might be happening at any given time, you just "know" something is going to happen at any moment. I felt like I was the person behind the video camera, just watching and waiting for something awful to happen. I wanted to scream at the couple to get out of the house, or at least to call the cops or an exorcist. Do something! Don't just keep waiting for the inevitable appearance of the entity. Unlike the previous comment poster, I enjoy Ghost Hunters, for the same reasons that I liked Paranormal Activity. Even though I know it's not real, it's still super scary and fun, especially if you watch it alone, late at night. But Paranormal Activity is way too scary to watch by yourself.

Nov. 16, 2009

The movie was okay, but the main problem is this...IT IS NOT SCAREY! Some parts, you are on the edge of your seat. Then you say "Oh. The ghost knocked on the wall. Well, that was...kinda weird."

And sure, that slow pacing is supposed to build up to such a dramatic ending. That was totally lifted (as was the premise) from Blair Witch Project.

I don't have as much of a problem with the ghost "messing around with them" and not just getting to the girl. Because, I'm going by the premise of the movie (not by any idiotic person that says "this is house ghosts operate" or mumbo jumbo like that. There simply is NO proof of such things).

Anyway, the premise is that they are PROVKING the spirit. She had explained things have happened all thru her life. And that guy that visited them (ghost hunter, or whatever he was) said that getting a ouji (sp?) board and all that, was a bad idea, and they shouldn't upset the spirit.

So, the guy did his goofy stuff anyway, and that's what got the ghost angry.

I did think the burned picture in the attic was kinda cool. But hardly scary. This movie can easily be skipped. And, there are about 100 better horror movies.

Nov. 18, 2009

Katie Featherston looks good running around in her underwear.

The rest...a marathon of "Twilight Zone" was just on through the New Year weekend. Had it on in background while I worked. Not a single episode of the two-dozen 22-minute episodes I saw was worse. And each "did it" in 22 minutes.

If it was hottest day of summer, and I had no where to go to get out of the terrible heat, and this was on for free in an air-conditioned theater, then it would be worth it. If I got free popcorn, too.

Jan. 2, 2010

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