Film Review Paranormal Activity
Director: Oren Peli (2007)
Dearest minds behind the following; Gothika, Mirrors, Blair Witch Project 2, Penance (Sorry Mr Kennedy Kennedy) The Grudge (American version), The Grudge 2, (Both versions), Dog Soldiers, Most Danny Dyer films, Mum and Dad (Film not my own), Dog Soldiers, The Childs Play franchise, Dog Soldiers and Sucker punch, will all of you please fork out several pounds/dollars/yen and watch this film. It’s not perfect (what film is?) but the fact is Mr Peli provides a demonstration of something we’ve known since Hitchcock and ignored since Blair Witch; the audience aren’t idiots, less can be more and the story should be scarier than the music!
Paranormal Activity is absolutely terrifying; it does so with a low key beginning and slow build to a horrific conclusion, at no point just relying on gore or casual genital mutilation to be a talking point. We begin with a couple, Katie and Micah, Micah has bought a fancy camera to document some strange goings on in their house. Told entirely through this video we begin by witnessing a happy couple, followed by a few bumps and bangs, a visit from a pretty useless psychic and then it all starts getting a bit more serious.
The early ‘happy couple let’s make the audience care stuff’ is a bit frustrating but thankfully over quickly, and there’s a friend of Katie’s who isn’t really given anything to do except sit around but apart from that I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this film, for the love of non-existent god watch it. You’ll find yourself focusing terrified on one tiny corner of a screen as the couple sleep and there’s a moment involving a weedgie board that’s just delightful.
The acting’s pretty top notch and the pacing’s perfect, so much is left to your imagination, by using the idea of a ‘docu-cam’ Peli has full control over what to show you and when, so your find yourself gripped just waiting for the camera to reveal what the characters are actually looking at. I love this approach because most of the time I’m terrifying myself with what might be happening rather than what actually is. I’m not saying this is a superior approach to guts and gore, it’s a different type of film entirely, but my non-existent god is this effective. Watch it, seriously………….just watch it.
Ok so if I have any bone to pick with this film it’s the end, they filmed two, the theatrically released ending which involved a flying carcass and exorcist type crawling and an alternative which is slowed down and involves Katie slitting her throat. Both come from the same scene/set-up and in my opinion the second one is just so superior. I get that they kept Katie alive for the sequel (which I’m fifty/fifty I want to watch) but why do it in such a cheesy brash way. Up to this point everything about this film has been tense and horrific, why not do a Blair Witch and use grainy image or the camera falling over to leave the ending up to the audience as well? It’s just me, no one else I know has griped about it and in all honesty it’s really not that bad, I just don’t think it fits with the rest of the experience. There we go, great film, probably not so great review.