Paranormal Activity

Synopsis: Katie and Micah are living in a huge house that is haunted by the ghost Katie has been encountering since her childhood. It’s exactly like every “demon in my house” movie you’ve ever seen, only this one doesn’t have music, it uses flashlights, and the camera shakes.
Year Released: 2007
Director: Oren Peli

Rating: Meh

Horror Ratings

Movie Pitch: “Let’s ask Joe and Marie to film some creepy stuff in their house and we can have my friend Marty run around in a green screen suit to make it seem like there’s a ghost in their house.”
Favorite Death: There’s only one and it’s not very impressive.
Funniest Part: Throughout the movie, Micah hides behind Katie when creepy shit starts to go down. This is particularly funny because it’s entirely his fault that the haunting is getting worse in the first place.
What they did right: Quite a few things, actually. The actors look like real people, and are on point with how they ad-libbed their lines. The shaky cam was realistic and not too horrible. I Also liked that the demon didn’t actually show up and the movie didn’t make it cheesy. It builds up to the point where you see shadows and hear loud footsteps, but there’s no creepy girl with long black hair in a white nightgown. The lack of music and sound effects made things creepier. That was pretty cool. Finally, the story picked up in the middle of the happenings going on. They had already had experiences in the house and rather than make up a reason for filming, it seems natural that at this point in the haunting, they would want to document it.
Special effects and lighting: There are only a few instances of special effects, but they were well done. There was obviously someone running around set in a green screen suit and at least one makeup artist that could make a convincing bite mark.
What I thought would happen: Full disclosure, I have seen this movie before. However, I totally forgot what happens and whether or not I actually liked it. Even if I hadn’t seen this movie before, it was insanely predictable and could easily have been swept under the rug with every other paranormal movie that does the “demon in my house” thing.


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As I’m sure you know, this movie is pretty popular. It’s been around for 12 years and is definitely starting to show it’s age.

I was in middle school when this came out. I was also home-schooled so I didn’t have any friends to force me to watch it. It wasn’t until the second movie hit theaters sometime in 2010 ( I was in Junior year of high school) that I knew about any of it.

Paranormal Activity is one of those movies that everyone talked about, but after watching it today I have no idea why. It’s methods of horror are not original; anyone can shine a flashlight down a hallway and breathe heavily behind a camera. Sure finding a childhood photo of yourself in the attic is spooky, but why it’s creepy, no one knows.

I won’t completely tear this movie apart though, there are some strong themes throughout it that make it somewhat redeemable. I mentioned all of those in the bullet points section, so I won’t repeat myself. Suffice it to say that this movie had some scary bits, but they were all made scary by the fact that we weren’t led in with musical cues.

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Alright, so this couple Katie and Micah are living together. Lately they’ve been experiencing some paranormal activity and want to document it with strangely professional cameras, lighting and sound.

Micah is determined to capture the ghost on film and document his valiant efforts to communicate with it. Rather than appease the spirit, he ends up making things worse and the spirit takes revenge by possessing Katie and killing him.

We’re supposed to hate Micah for being a dickish character and we’re supposed to feel sympathetic for Katie. In a way, these actors play the characters a bit too “normal” and there doesn’t seem to be the proper amount of drama necessary to connect with them. Therefore, even though we know this ghost has been haunting Katie since she was a child, we don’t really care that she gets possessed in the end. At least, I didn’t. It was pretty predictable.

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So the ghost does it’s ghosty things. It builds gradually as the movie goes on and the fear of what will happen next is very real. Things the ghost does includes breathing on Katie, hiding old photos in the attic, turning lights on and off, and making a lot of random noises.

The movie builds to a crescendo when Katie is dragged out of bed (because her foot was outside of the covers like a maniac). Either the next night or some night in the future, she’s possessed yet again and kills Micah. The movie ends with one of those “and the police found Micah’s body but Katie was never to be seen again” things. Pretty cheesy, but I can’t expect much from a movie made in 2006.

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This movie doesn’t have a lot going for it aside from the fact that Micah is constantly trying to make contact with the spirit and piss it off. I doubt this movie would have been much different if they had cast Zack Baggins and told him it was just another investigation. Micah makes a point to bring in a Ouija board and communicate with the thing, therefore making it more violent.

I don’t know that I would classify this as a bad horror movie because it does have some redeemable qualities and is scary. I admit, I looked away for a few scenes. But I think it’s just another movie about a haunting. I don’t get the hype, but if you do, feel free to defend your position in the comments!


Last Week’s Review: Cube

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