Director: Oren Peli
Starring: Micah Sloat, Katie Featherston . USA. 1h 26m
Sometimes it takes a great director to make a movie, other times it takes a great director to endorse a movie to make it a winner! Steven Speilberg couldn’t praise the movie enough, claiming that he had to stop watching as he was so afraid and had to continue the next day with the lights on! What on earth could freak him out that much?
The film was hyped up as the scariest movie you’ve ever seen, this instantly made it a target for criticism and doubt. The series of trailers were chock a block with clips of audiences reeling away and jumping with fright more than highlighting what the film is actually about. The most we know is there’s something going on in the pristine suburban home of two beautiful young hopefuls.
What happens when you sleep?
Micah and Katie have just purchased a fancy camera to try and capture the freaky events happening in their home. During the small hours, while they are sleeping, mysterious things have been happening to them in their beautiful home. From a bump in the night to creepy scratches on the skin it’s apparent something otherworldly is going on. After having a consultation with a psychic Katie suddenly remembers that she used to be stalked by a malevolent poltergeist as a child that moved from home to home with her, but not having had much activity in her life she had assumed it had gone away. How does one simply forget that something like that? This is where the film loses a lot of its credibility but somehow it remains watchable and somewhat entertaining.
“I feel it. I feel it breathing on me.”-Katie
The activity begins to increase as it’s aggravated by Micha, the eternal joker, who’s interested in the strange pneumonia and is constantly taunting the entity. While Micha’s annoying, often thrusting his geeky face on screen just to take the piss, without him the film wouldn’t have it’s highs. What was a bump in the night is soon terrifying bedroom encounters, ouija boards are set on fire and the creature’s form is partly disclosed with terrifying results. We’re lead down a tight path of proof that this demonic haunting is very real and there are no other options for the audience, nothing to ponder, this is a brave example of forcing a audience to be afraid because there’s no option that this is just a movie, this is poised as being real and you have to accept it.
Without all the hype and big named endorsements, I’m not sure Peil’s jump scare horror would have been as widely received? So much of the movie has been replicated in many found footage movies it’s really flavoured the modern genre. Generally any seasoned horror fan would have to switch off and just go with the flow, in one scene the couple are going out for the night but decide to set their camera up to film the Ouija board and just happen to catch the moment when it bursts into flames, what a coincidence!? At times the movie can be chilling, it’s hard to protect yourself from the unknown and everyone is vulnerable when asleep, so how do you protect yourself from such a horrific battle? Through some really clever filming techniques utilizing rally
Related: Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
Lists: Paranormal Activity rated