Archive for December 2nd, 2009

The Dark Night!

Paranormal Activity is the story of a young San Diego couple who are haunted by things that go bump in the night. Armed with a video camera the set out to record the paranormal activity in the hope of stopping it. Shot in a Blair Witch/[•Rec]/Cloverfield style using only the video camera images the film is intended to look like real footage. For the most part it actually succeeds in doing this.

The great thing about the film is the simplicity of it. Set within the confines of a suburban house, it can at times be claustrophobic. Aside from the paranormal the young couple (Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) are realistic and believable helping the paranormal element work perfectly. It is actually a benefit that unknown actors where used in these roles. The film develops slowly showing the video footage over several nights as well as the couple’s reaction during the day. This gradual build actually lends a sense of believability to a supernatural story. The way the film demonstrates the effect on the couple’s relationship also is also effective.

Where the film does fall a little short, although genuinely creepy it isn’t actually scary. Even a few cheep make you jump moments would have helped. Watching the audience reaction in the trailer suggests some people did react that way. Some of the most effective scenes are actually when we see nothing; on a couple of occasions the characters “forget” to take the camera with them and leave it fixed and we only have the extremely effective sound to tell us what is happening.

Although not the best film ever made it is a fantastic demonstration of what can be done on a miniscule budget (around $15,000), and is enjoyable and interesting to watch. warning slight plot spoiler ahead: to its credit the film doesn’t give much in way of explanation to what is happening. The final shot explains a lot but also asks many unanswered questions. End of spoiler. Hopefully the film will remain as a stand alone piece, I somehow think like The Blair Witch Project the money men won’t be able to resist cashing in though. On final thought, it really should carry an 18 certificate; nothing in the film warrants an 18 but it would have kept the kids out who sat at the back of the cinema talking throughout the film. If I had wanted a commentary with my movie I would have waited for the DVD.


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