is a 2009 mockumentary horror film written and directed by Oren Peli. The movie premiered at the Screamfest Film Festival in US on October 14, 2007, and at the Slamdance Film Festival on January 18, 2008. The movie is currently in limited release in several cities in the United States as of October of 2009. The movie centers on a young couple, Katie and Micah, who are haunted by a supernatural presence in their home. The movie is presented through the camera set up by the couple to capture the paranormal activity.
Like The Blair Witch Project
, Paranormal Activity
is an impressive and harrowing indie chiller that derives much of its terror--and there is quite a bit of that in its brief running time--by playing on the most basic of human fears: that which cannot be seen. Though one might assume that the point-of-view aesthetic had been worn out thanks toCloverfield
(and, lest one forgets,Blair Witch
makes excellent use of the single-camera technique, which helps to not only preserve the film's central conceit--a new-minted couple records the increasingly threatening supernatural phenomena that have invaded their home on a camcorder--but underscore the realism needed to drive home the low-fi (if completely persuasive) special effects. The approach is also crucial to the film's suspense, which unfolds in long, largely broken takes to nerve-rattling effect. Not every horror fan--or moviegoer--will fall for the film's spook-show approach. Those that foundBlair Witch
's less-is-more approach aggravating will feel the same way aboutParanormal
, but the sleight of hand exhibited by first-time director Oren Peli, and assisted by his two leads, relative newcomers Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat, should provide adventurous viewers with fresher and stronger scares than anything from Hollywood in recent years.--Paul Gaita