Saturday, October 31, 2009

Paranormal Activity

It's Halloween. And in honor of this traditionally frightening day, I bring you my review of the current trendy scary flick Paranormal Activity.

Apparently, this movie has been around for awhile, but only recently reached wide release. To be honest, I hadn't heard much about it. I would see headlines about it on some other blogs but I never really paid much attention. It was when I started seeing blurbs like "scariest movie ever" that I started taking a closer look.

Last Monday, on a whim, I decided to catch a matinee since I was getting off work early. Yes, I went to a scary movie in the middle of the day. But I went alone, so that really ups the creepiness factor.

I don't know that I would call it the "scariest movie ever," but it's right up there with the real scary ones. And it's the good kind of scary. It's not the blood and guts that a lot of horror film makers tend to throw in just to get a cheap thrill.

And really, this movie was nothing but cheap thrills. The whole thing was filmed in the director's own home with one camera and a budget of just over $11,000. Needless to say, it's drawn a lot of comparisons to The Blair Witch Project, another low-budget hit that scared the crap out of me.

Paranormal Activity follows a few weeks in the lives of Katie and Micah, a young couple who have recently moved in to a new home together. Micah initially purchases his camera in hopes to catch on film some of the strange phenomena that has been happening in the house. As the skeptic of the story, he's hoping to find evidence of the haunting that his girlfriend claims has followed her since the age of 8.

It doesn't take long before the camera begins catching that evidence. As things progress, Micah seems unconcerned while Katie grows more and more terrified. After an invited psychic comes to diagnose the problem, it only spurs Micah on to attempt to communicate with the haunting spirit. Only, according to the psychic, the victims aren't dealing with a ghost or the spirit of a departed loved one. They're dealing with a violent and malevolent demon who has attached itself to Katie. It doesn't matter where they go or what they do, this thing would continually find her and haunt her.

Their psychic friend refers them to a demonologist that should be able to help with their problem. However, Micah refuses to let Katie call him, and is adamant that they can deal with this on their own. Things only get worse from there. Small noises and the sounds of footsteps become inhuman screams and slamming doors. Though Micah was warned not to use a Ouija board to communicate with the demon, he gets one anyway. This opens the door for the demon to become even more volatile.

Things eventually come to a head in the climactic scene where... wait, I don't want to give it away. Let's just say that the end was just creepy enough to keep me from falling asleep right away on Monday night. I didn't experience any paranormal activity of my own, but that didn't stop my mind from playing a few tricks whenever I tried to close my eyes. But don't worry, eventually I fell asleep without incident, and the next night I slept like a baby.

So if you like a good scare then this is definitely a flick worth seeing. You just have to remember to put it out of you mind once it's over. Otherwise you'll have a sleepless night and you'll imagine noises that might not actually be there. But if you really want to know what happens in your home while you sleep, you could always set up a camera like Micah did. But I can't say that turned out very well for him.

Was that a spoiler? Sorry...

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