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LikeThe Blair Witch Project,Paranormal Activityis 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 toCloverfieldandQuarantine(and, lest one forgets,Blair Witch),Paranormalmakes 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
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CastKatie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Michael Bayouth, Mark Fredrichs, Amber Armstrong
DirectorOren Peli
Screen WriterOren Peli
DVD Release Date:  December 29, 2009
Runtime:  86 minutes
Studio:  Paramount
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review by . December 18, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
In terms of a movie accomplishing what it set out to do, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY may be the movie of the year. There are many, many flaws in it...but its goal is to give the viewer the willies, and it succeeds. I seldom (and I DO MEAN seldom) notice my heart racing faster and find that I'm leaning forward in my seat when watching a movie. I've seen it all, I feel like.    PARANORMAL ACTIVITY was a delightful exception. I found it truly disturbing and agitating. I actually felt dread. …
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