by Marko Domazet
Last night, yours truly was treated to a screening of Paranormal Activity. Today, your’s truly is rather grumpy because Paranormal Activity freaked me out so much, got me all sorts of paranoid, unable to sleep and it’s with these feelings in mind, I’m now putting my thoughts on paper.
First time director Oren Peli, tells the story of Katie and Micah, a young couple with an original way of dealing with a haunting presence that show you the best way to piss off a ghost. Basically, take one camera, tripod and a boyfriend that has an unhealthy obsession with paranormal phenomena. Mix with a ghost that does not enjoy the paparazzi treatment, sprinkle with some weird noises, scary duvet lifting and you’re in for a hell of a horror film.
The plot in itself is the very familiar affair of a couple living in a spooky house and trying to do something about it. In the case of Paranormal Activity, they film the events and it is this footage we see in the cinemas. Cue handheld, doc style footage, dark corners, suspense and although this film does bear a strong resemblance to Blair Witch Project, I have to say that it’s a much more sophisticated affair than BWP ever was. This is mainly accomplished with the effective camera work and the fact that it’s allowed to observe and let the audience to spot the scary stuff as it’s happening. In other words, lots of tripod, night vision shots and (thank God) very little handheld shaking.
The biggest reservation about Paranormal Activity is its characters and the way they develop. Both Katie and Micah start off as well-rounded, multi-dimensional individuals, only to turn into stereotypically hysterical horror-victims. Add to that the fact that every decision Micah makes is borderline idiotic (Who chooses to carry on filming while weird stuff is going on at night? Who goes to investigate a noise in the middle of the night without turning the lights on?) and you’ll be forgiven for not feeling too sympathetic towards them at times.
Having said all of that, Paranormal Activity is still a cracker of a horror with heaps of suspense. Take it for what it is and you’ll have a great time and probably even get a bit freaked out… I certainly did. Enjoy!