By Charly SHELTON
Since it’s Halloween time, we at the Crescenta Valley Weekly have decided to go for an older film, not one that came out this week. But “Paranormal Activity” will scare the pants off of you. The film revolves around a young couple who just moved in together. But she has a curse – a demon is following her from house to house; she cannot run away. And when the paranormal activity gets stronger and more intense, the couple realizes just how bad this spirit really is. Full of great effects but not a lot of digital effects, this movie is guaranteed to give you the willies this Halloween.
The plot may be simple, but the result is terrifying. This is quite possibly one of the scariest movies ever made. The entire cast is only four people: the young couple, her best friend and a psychic who comes to try and help rid them of the haunting. And the entire thing is shot like it was with a video camera, like “Cloverfield” and “The Blair Witch Project.” This is the only major downside to the movie – it was so jittery that it made people in the theater sick but not because of the scary parts when the camera should be swiveled around. The scary parts are the only scenes that are alright because the camera is kept stationary. It’s the dayto- day activities that the lead character, Micah, is filming for background footage that make you want to go to the lobby for a spare popcorn bag. The jittering was so intense that it detracted from the rest of the movie because from about five minutes in, your head is spinning.
But for the stationary moments, few and fleeting though they may be, the film was pretty good. It was very scary. For those of you reading this who have a soft spot for ghosts and paranormal things, if they really scare you beyond normal scared, then avoid this film. I love ghosts and this kind of thing. “A Haunting” is one of my favorite shows. And even I was terrified. Not so much in the theater, but when you’re laying at home in bed. In the dark. The wind blows outside, and makes a squeak on the window, and you’re sure that it’s a demon coming to get you.
The effects and presentation of “Paranormal Activity” are so good that you may believe it was all true. One moviegoer was overheard saying, “It was so real. Some of those [ghost effects] you can’t do [in special effects].” This is the “Blair Witch” for a new generation. Ten years after the nation was rocked by the release of tapes found in a forest chronicling a journey to the Blair Witch, now thesetting is a house in San Diego.
“Paranormal Activity” is going to be the topic of many, many discussions in film schools from now on because of the circumstances under which the film was made, and the box office gross. It was made for $15,000 and grossed $9.1 million “in its first week in the U.S., making it the highestgrossing weekend ever for a movie playing in less than 200 theaters.” This is an amazing feat. At the time this article was written, it has made $63.4 million in the USA alone. Not bad for a $15,000 budget, and being shot in one week at the writer/director’s home which really is, reportedly, haunted.
So, is it true? Is it not? You make the call. Rated R. Written and directed by Oren Peli; starring Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat.
I give this film a 2 out of 5 stars, because it spun so much it left me seeing stars