Paranormal Activity, does it live up to the hype?

I am a monstrously huge fan of horror movies, but I have not seen one in years that scared me to the point of screaming in horror. “Paranormal Activity looked like the answer to my petrifying prayers. This was a movie I have been looking forward since I first saw the TV spot a couple months ago. I even went online to demand it be released nationwide. Well, 1 million demands later, there was a nationwide release planned. Paranormal Activity” has been said to be one of the the scariest films of the year, perhaps even the decade. Could be true? Could this finally be the movie that can make audiences squeal in terrifying, horrific delight?

Not quite.

Plot Summary

Everyday, average couple Micah and Katie buy a video camera to record the not-so-average paranormal phenomenon that seems to be following Katie. At first, it is only noises and slamming doors waking the couple at night, but It quickly progresses into more violent and creepy happenings like footprints made in flour on the floor. Finally, Katie calls a physic who informs the couple that the entity in their home is very aggressive and he can do nothing for them. Micah then takes matters into his ownhands by going around the house cussing out the demon spirit (bad call) and then proceeds to borrow a Ouija board in an attempt to make contact. Unfortunately, his plan not only upsets Katie (who wants to take the smart approach to the situation and leave the evil spirit alone), but also causes even more disturbances, including possession. Katie is filmed doing things she can not remember in the morning, such as standing beside the bed for 3 hours like a creeper, staring at Micah while he sleeps. Katie begins having more blackouts and strange behavior, and Micah is lost on what to do. He suggests they leave the house (one of the view good ideas this guy has) and Katie agrees at first, but then changes her mind, saying “everything will be okay now.” That should have been a big red flag, and the audience can sense that something is about to go down, and we all know who it’s going to be. The end is sad, slightly reminiscent of The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Exorcist , and too sudden. Paranormal Activity beats comparable films, like The Blair Witch Project, all to crap, but there could still have been more done with it if they had actually had a decent budget.

Is it worth your time?

The “home-video” feel to the movie makes the story seem more realistic, as Katie and Micah could be your next door neighbors. It actually puts me in the mind of Ghosthunters on the Scifi channel, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, that kind of approach can make the audience feel a little let down in the special effects department, but that’s part of the fun of this movie.

As with any film, “Paranormal Activity” comes with its share of problems and goofs. There are times you can hear the main characters call each other by the wrong names, but the viewers would be to engrossed in the situation to even notice the first time around.

What this movie does bring to the table is something different, a change of pace from the usual serial killer/monster movie we are starting to see a trend of. If you’re a fan of the psychological horror, this film can mess with your head if you let it. But, if you walk in not looking for the thrill of becoming scared, you probably won’t find this movie very threatening in the nightmare department.

See it or Skip it?

See it. I admit, I was caught up in all the hype surrounding this movie and expected to have to sleep with the lights on for a night or two, but I was a little let down. Maybe I expected too much and my standards are too high. I know this film would have scared a lot of my friends, so this is why I’m saying, give it a chance. This might be a film for you. As a viewer, you need to let yourself get into the story, and that’s when you can really enjoy its subtle terror. On the other hand, you might find this film funny (I did), and even that is worth some entertainment points, but it still does not live up to the hype.

Final Result: See it or wait to rent it (with a big group of people at night. That might make it more fun.)

Check out the trailer:

Photo courtesy of Blumhouse Productions

Video courtesy of YouTube.com