— by MARIUSZ ZUBROWSKI —
The unknown both scares us and fascinates us, and what is more unknown to human-beings then the existence of the afterlife?
Well, the indie horror film “Paranormal Activity” uses our natural fears of the unknown against us and the result is a horror film, which, without a moment of cringe-inducing gore or colossal men armed with murder weapons, provides scares unmatched by those of Jason and Jigsaw.
The film presents itself as if it were shot by a young day-trader named Micah. His live-in girlfriend, Katie, fears she is haunted by a demon after she experiences what seems to be paranormal activity after moving into her new home. During the 20-day span of the filming, we watch as minor events such as a door being pushed little-by-little to footprints showing up on the ground.
The film starts off by thanking the family of Micah and ends with the title card “whereabouts unknown.” It is basically set-up as a film that Micah shot so he could have proof of the haunting.
The scenes are separated with day and night sequences. The night sequences are when most thrilling moments occur. The day sequences serve as in-depth looks at Micah and Katie’s mental states and to see how the haunting slowly changes their perceptions.
Micah is the typical wise-guy, but he’s likeable. He dismisses Katie’s beliefs that she is being haunted (and delivers some genuinely funny lines). His brand-new camera is his obsession, even going back for the camera after Katie screams for help. Katie, on the other hand, is a young student, who is the victim of the haunting. She is the one that is mostly on camera, thus it’s easier to delve into her psychological state than it is for Micah.
It is very easy to feel remorse for the two because they are an example of a normal (except for the whole demon ordeal) young couple, who feel like they could be your next-door neighbors.
Katie is quick to hire a psychic to help them out, but he refers them to a specialist. The problem is that this specialist is out of town and this is the unrealistic factor in the whole film. They must have invented the phonebook for reasons other then for being a bright yellow paperweight.
Paranormal Activity is a small horror film with an even smaller budget, but that should not detour you from seeing it. Being so close to Halloween, there is a heap of subpar horror films (like the annual dose of “Saw” mediocrity) coming out, but this is the shining diamond amidst the dirt.
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