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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Paranormal Activity Didn't Help with Sleepy Time Afterwards

Paranormal Activity = 4 out of 5 Stars
Katie: Did you actually go back to get the camera?
Helpful Disclaimer: If you have any interest in this film, do not watch the trailer, go in as fresh as possible.

A very low budget, supernatural thriller about a couple trying to learn what goes bump in the night. While I initially walked out of the theater appreciating the film and liking it just alright, I then had a bit of trouble going to sleep that night, and I can safely say that this film is effectively chilling due to its proper use of tension, suspense, and appropriate realism factor. 

 
The plot is simple. A young couple, living in a house in San Diego, have been experiencing strange activity at night. The solution is to purchase a camera and then leave it filming their bedroom while they sleep at nights. What follows is a completely handheld film showing the documented footage of the couple dealing with these occurrences and what is going on at night.

Made for $11,000, the film is incredibly simple, working with non-actors, having them control the camera throughout. As this is a handheld camera film, there is no score or flashy style. What that leaves are the nighttime sequences to provide the scares, which build up throughout to bigger and bigger surprises. 



Much of the work this film has to do is get you to care about the two people we have to spend this story with.  I have to say that I enjoyed watching this couple, even as they bickered or made choices that prompted the audience to shout at the screen.


In a world where the Saw films (we're on the 6th in a row this year) try very hard to fill every frame with every possible kind of dismembered body part, torture device, and "clever" plot twist, this film is scarier than those films will ever be, with one of the biggest scares coming from simply having a door close.

The minor quibbles that left me a bit colder towards the movie the previous night involve some choices by the characters and how "realistic" some reactions were, but suffice it to say trying to sleep comfortably following the screening was not an easy task.

Effectively made and effectively spooky.

Katie: I don't give a fuck what that thing says on the Ouija board!

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