Paranormal Activity

Last night, I went to a pre-screening of Paranormal Activity (opens Thursday in Australian cinemas). There’s been a lot of talk about this film, and now I can understand why.

Originally filmed in 2007 and screened at the Screamfest Film Festival. Filmed in 7 days on a budget of just $15,000, the entire movie was shot on the handheld video camera you see in a mirror near the beginning of the film. At times the picture is out of focus or the lighting is all wrong, but it greatly adds to the honest atmosphere of the story.

The story revolves around a young woman, Katie – a delightfully voluptuous woman, complete with cellulite – who, after living with her boyfriend Micah for three years, begins to experience paranormal visitations. Micah has purschased the video camera with the intentions of capturing evidence of this ‘haunting’, thinking that it would be pretty cool.

The events start out mild: a door moves, lights flicker, strange knocking sounds and footsteps are heard. But the more the pair attempt to work out the cause of the strange happenings, they quickly escalate from the merely odd to the out-right terrifying.

Paranormal Activity is not a conventional horror story, but rather one of unadulterated fear. Once you are past the slow introduction, the rising tension is kept drum-tight, playing off one of the most primal fears known to man: to look into the darkness and hear the thing that is coming for you.

This story does not disappoint. The rising sense of dreadful anticipation as your eyes dart across the darkened room, breathlessly waiting for the next noise, the next movement, the next scream. The tension grows as the demon affects Katie’s mind, then her body, until finally we discover that we are not even safe in the daylight. There are no twists, no let-down reveal, just the ever-increasing horror.

The effects are, for the most part, superbly done, hinting at the terror in our imagination. A true nightmare for those of us afraid of the unseen lurking in the dark.

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~ by ghostwolfe on November 30, 2009.

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