Does ‘Paranormal Activity’ live up to the hype?

By Aaron Fenn

Although it was shot on a budget of less than $15,000 with two
unknown actors and virtually no violence of any kind, “Paranormal
Activity” manages to come off as one of the more successfully
creepy and terrifying horror films in recent memory.The film is
about Katie and her boyfriend Micah, played by unknowns Katie
Featherston and Micah Sloat, who begin hearing strange “house
noises” in the middle of the night. In order to investigate these
noises, Micah buys a video camera, documents everything that they
experience and even sets the camera on a tripod to film what goes
on while they’re sleeping. Of course, we the audience, get to watch
this “found footage” unfold before our very eyes.”Paranormal
Activity” owes a lot of its success and viral-marketing hype to the
film “The Blair Witch Project,” which frightened audiences ten
years ago. It is of this particular reviewer’s opinion, however,
that “Paranormal Activity” is a much better film.One of the main
things that works so well for “Paranormal Activity” is the way in
which director Oren Peli lets it all unfold to audiences.Instead of
a “shaky-cam” where audiences would have trouble seeing exactly
what’s going on, Peli sets the camera down in the middle of the
room and forces the audience to just stare at a bedroom, waiting
for something to happen. Often times, in the scenes where Katie and
Micah are sleeping, absolutely nothing is happening on screen.
Then, all of a sudden, a door creaks. A shadow forms. Wind blows.
This is all slightly chilling but nothing truly horrifying. At
about the half hour mark, however, a sequence involving
time-elapsing and a woman standing up occurs, which will send
chills down spines. Saying any more would spoil the fun, or in some
case, horror, and although it may not sound like much, the film
knows how to use its low budget to truly frighten an audience.The
film doesn’t quite live up to all of the hype and buzz that it’s
getting all over the internet, but then again, what film really
could. The film isn’t going to make people unable to sleep for
months and it’s not going to be scarier than “The Exorcist,” but
what it will do is give you genuine goose bumps and make you
question what that sound was that you heard right before you fell
asleep.My last bit of advice for people who still haven’t seen this
movie would be to see it with an audience. Half of the tension,
horror, and fun that the film elicits is from audience members
shouting at the screen, groaning in anticipation, and squirming in
their seats. Personally, I saw this film at a midnight screening
and the sense of dread and foreboding from everyone around me was
undeniable.”Paranormal Activity” isn’t going to go down in history
as one of the scariest films ever made, but one thing is for
certain, you will be shaken. In a time where movies like the
“Friday the 13th” remake and “Saw VI ” pass for horror, “Paranormal
Activity” seems like one of the more terrifying films to hit
theaters in quite some time.Final Rating: 3/4 Stars


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Does ‘Paranormal Activity’ live up to the hype?

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