Movie Review – Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity, a “mockumentary” horror film written and directed by Oren Peli, premiered at the Screamfest Film Festival in US on October 14, 2007, and at the Slamdance Film Festival on January 18, 2008. The movie received a limited release in several U.S. cities on October 9, 2009 and had a nationwide release on October 16, 2009.

The ghost story plot of Paranormal Activity is not new to the movie scene. Katie and Micah are a young couple who take the plunge of moving in together. It is not long before they start to experience some paranormal activity in their home. Lights and sinks turn themselves on or off and doors slam with no explanation. Katie then sheds a little light on the situation as she reveals that she has been followed by a ghost ever since she was 8 years old. The couple seek the advice of a psychic and terror begins to unfold.

This set up doesn’t seem any different than a ghost hunting drama that you could flip on at midnight on the sci-fi channel, but the brilliant direction makes it one of the best horror movies of all time by exploiting our inner anxieties about the reality, not the possibility, of haunted spirits. Paranormal Activity triggers fear through the anxiety of committing in a relationship, the panic of a major life change taking a wrong turn, and the familiar yet unexplainable noises or creaks everyone tries to ignore.

As with the popular Blair Witch Project, the selling point is the authentic feel that Paranormal Activity portrays. The spooks and frights aren’t over the top, but they are by no means mundane either. And the ending, holy dammit Christmas, the ending is out of this world. You will go home suspecting every dripping faucet, every cupboard door left open, and every flickering light to be the work of your own personal haunting.

See this movie on the big screen, my little interweb poltergeists. And, if possible, sit between two of the sweetest gay men in the world when you go. I did. And I had the time of my life.