Paranormal Activity Review – I Was ‘Fraid of A Ghost


Paranormal Activity

I forgot to wear my Ghostbusters t-shirt when headed to the 1am screening of Paranormal Activity at the Arclight Hollywood theater. I thought it would show everyone how much of an anti-spirit badass I was, and not like the 16-year old girls cowering and weeping beside me. Though while Paranormal Activity did give me goosebumps, it wasn’t as scary as I had hoped.

You know the premise, and if you don’t, here it is: A couple moves into their first house and starts experiencing supernatural phenomenon. Loud noises, footsteps, etc. The guy in the relationship decides to document everything with a new video camera, setting it up in the bedroom to catch whatever happens when they sleep. What this amounts to is lights flicking on and off, thumping of something coming up stairs and doors swinging open and closed… at first. As the nights go on, the “activity” gets worse, and downright terrifying.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tense for the majority of these night scenes, but most of them end without incident. Perhaps that was to help make later scenes pay off bigger, but I felt that there were some missed opportunities. No, I didn’t want a full-on CG demon running through the halls, but more glimpses, scares, etc. would have been nice. I think the lack of attention was due to its indie nature. There’s only so much you can do with shadows, etc.

I also felt the storytelling was a bit weak. As part of the lore in the film, the main female character tells stories about being haunted by a ghost since she was 8… but it never leads anywhere. There could have been a very clever story to explain more of what’s happening, but it seemed less important than going for scares. The lack of rules surrounding what this entity can or cannot do gets thrown out the window near the end, making you wonder why it never did what it ends up doing a long time ago. The ending I saw was a new one, which I believe was re-shot after Paramount acquired the film. The original seems a bit silly and farfetched, and I’m curious to see it (probably on DVD) but the new ending does what you expect a movie of this type to do.

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All in all, if you like ghost stories or scary tales, I’d totally recommend catching Paranormal Activity, especially in theaters. You will get creeped out a few times, for sure. And if you can judge this film as a movie made in a week for $15,000 instead of a big-budget Hollywood movie, it’s definitely deserves a lot of respect for capturing my interest and attention.


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5 Responses

  1. heather says:

    when they talked about her having these “hauntings” when she was 8 and then 13, it led to micah discovering this other women who all this stuff happened to down to the T; she was 8 when everything happened, her house was burned down, etc. and the ouiji board helped him discover this other women on the internet. what made me a little angry about the movie was the never show you what gets burned onto the ouiji board. overall i though it was a pretty great movie. i was genuinely terrified and couldn’t sleep for more than 2 hours that same night. haha. thanks for the review :]

  2. donk land cruiser says:

    I say cliche ridden boring lazy mess. People were really scared by this? Huh. I’m a jumpy person and I cringed all of once, when she was dragged out of bed. When people were shrieking in my theater I felt the same as when I watch History Channel shows on Hitler and the crowds going crazy, like, really? You’re really that into this? So Hitler, Paranormal Activity, color me unimpressed.
    On the bright side my theater now serves Chai lattes, so the afternoon wasn’t a total waste.

  3. trex says:

    this movie sucked. i hope if demons do exist they are not so boring and find cooler people to haunt. i wanted them both dead, even then i was so bored i didn’t really care. fuck this movie and all the idiots buying tickets to it and saying its so scary just because that’s what everyone else is saying

  4. Mark97 says:

    How does he make the tenuous jump from collective culture to superstitious people cowed into passivity?

  5. Merlin53 says:

    Are you of the opinion that there are still two camps, each believing in the double or triple helix structure? ,