Saturday, October 2, 2010

Paranormal Activity

Directed by Oren Peli.
2009. Rated R, 86 minutes.
Katie Featherston
Micah Sloat
Mark Fredrichs
Amber Armstrong

Plot: Katie (Featherston) believes something has been haunting her for her entire life and is in the house where she now lives with her boyfriend Micah (Sloat). Micah decides to film all the goings on in the house, hoping to get to the bottom of it. Things going bump in the night ensue.

The Good: Through the limitations of one of our characters having to hold the camera and the lack of extravagant special fx, it successfully feigns reality. Its easy to believe this is an actual couple and you are watching video documentation of their life. This makes it very easy to relate what's happening on the screen to the noises that break the night silence in your own home. Therefore, its as plausible as a haunted house movie can be and there is where its power lies.

The Bad: Its worst offense is because of that same camera that's such an asset. Even when the situation seems to dictate getting to or away from whatever is going on quickly, someone, usually Micah, usually stops to grab the camera, first. A major horror cliche pops up from time to time. It's that old favorite "You hear that? I'm gonna go check it out." And yes, Micah get annoying.

The Ugly: After one particularly adventurous night about halfway through, if I were Kate's boyfriend, without question I would've given her "the speech." What speech, you ask? "You know what babe? I don't think this thing is gonna work out between us. It's's me, not you. Peace out." Love, be damned!

Recommendation: This is a very nice haunted house flick, best one I've seen in quite some time. It easily surpasses The Haunting in Connecticut, 2009's other major entry into the genre. Yes, it totally steals the concept from The Blair Witch Project, or probably more accurately from Cloverfield which stole it from TBWP but I like it better than both of those. As with all haunted house movies, I recommend watching this at home, late at night, with all the lights off, then going to bed immediately afterwards.

The Opposite View: Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

What the Internet Says: 7.0/10 on (12/14/09), 82% on, 68/100 on

MY SCORE: 8/10

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