Movie of the Day – Paranormal Activity
October 21, 2011 5 Comments
Alright, I am not choosing this movie because the latest film is out in theaters today. I am choosing this movie as it was a simple concept that was extremely well executed at the time. It was able to play upon the general fears that people have of the unknown and things that go bump in the night. I certainly got chills when I saw it in theaters and to this day it still has this eerie unsettling feeling when watching it. I guess that we are in the Halloween Season, so a scary movie is in order.
Katie (Katie Featherson) and Micah (Micah Sloat) are a twentysomething couple who’ve just moved into a new home in San Diego, CA. Katie has an interest in the paranormal and believes that malevolent spirits have been following her since childhood, though Micah is not so easily convinced. However, after several nights of loud noises and strange happenings, Micah starts to agree with Katie that some sort of ghost may have followed them to the new home. After a paranormal researcher tells the couple he can’t help them, Micah decides to take control of the situation and sets up a battery of video cameras so that if a spirit manifests itself, he can capture its behavior on tape. Once the surveillance cameras are in place, Katie and Micah bring in a Ouija board in an effort to talk to the spirits, a move that deeply offends the ghosts. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
For a first time director, Oren Peli really came out of the gate with an impressive movie. Filmed on a limited budget, using viral marketing and a nice audience reaction campaign is smart. He drummed up some interest in the movie by getting people to vote to have it shown in their city and it worked, for me anyways. I was interested in the movie. It seemed like a better Blair Witch Project without all the snot and cussing involved.
So the premise is simple, with a poltergeist style entity haunting this young couple. Where the movie shines is the tension that it builds throughout the evenings recording. Long scenes of silence and no dialogue where the couple just sleep and we are given this unrestrained view on the proceedings. We hear the ambient noises as it breaks the silence of the night and startles the viewer. It is terribly effective. I don’t get the chills often when watching scary movies, but it’s the eerie setting that makes us think that it could happen to us in our own place.
Having a film with unknowns and a simple premise allows for a lot of room to breathe in terms of making the movie. You aren’t restrained in what you get to do and the only limitation is your imagination. Peli crafted a great scary movie that relies on our imagination to fill in the mysterious noises and then sit through long stretches of silence. It is unsettling, frightening and makes us think about this when we go home to sleep.