Saturday, March 6, 2010

Review: Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, 2009)

You have to credit the filmmakers for making a genuinely scary film with a shoestring budget, one camera, and a pair of unknown actors. While the premise of this film is interesting, it certainly doesn't live up to the massive hype projected onto it. What the characters are dealing with is an invisible presence that has followed and haunted Katie since her childhood, and has since followed her and her fiance Micah to their new home. Micah has set up a camera system and has a number of methods in place to monitor the movements of this presence to investigate a way to remove it from their lives. Much of the events occur at night as the couple sleeps under the watchful lens of the camera, and a series of ever-worsening incidents have Katie fearing for her life. At times it is humorous, especially when Micah is talking moronically into the camera, but mostly it is unsettling and certainly terrifying for many people based purely upon the location of the events of the film, a quiet family home. While we expect to see a figure appear at every jolting movement of the camera, we do not. They fear what they cannot see, but can certainly sense. The best and worst moments appear in the final 20 minutes, as the bedroom is completely infiltrated by the presence and Katie seems to be possessed. The conclusion, which differs not from preceding films of this style, The Blair Witch Project and Quarantine, is very disappointing. But I have been told that multiple endings have been shot. Perhaps my opinion will change with an alternative ending. Overall, I was expecting a film capable of giving me nightmares. This is not the film! Most of my audience was laughing throughout the film, whether this was a mechanism to cover their fear, or whether they were just appalled at the ridiculousness of what was on the screen, I do not know. Chances are, it was both!

My Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

1 comment:

  1. I generally agree. When I saw it at the Sydney Film Festival I was pretty disappointed, although the audience reaction was fun to listen to. Interestingly, I really don't think the movie will play very well on fact it'll probably loose most of, if not all it's impact on the small screen. This movie was made to be seen in theaters, not downloaded onto a laptop and watched in your bedroom with the lights on like many chose to do instead. Idiots!