If you ask someone who has watched Paranormal Activity if it was scary they will probably tell you that they slept with the light on afterwards. Thing is when you get down to it the film is highly overrated. While it is a brilliantly made film it is debatable whether or not it lives up to the amount of hype that gets piled on it.
The story follows Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat who are being haunted by a ghost which has apparently followed Katie for most of her life. They call in a man who happens to be a Ghostbuster. Unfortunately it turns out it is not a ghost, but something far more sinister which is intent on turning Katie and Micah’s lives into a living hell. All throughout the story there are moments of unparalleled creepiness and there is a constant eerie sense of tension that keeps you wondering what will happen next. It culminates in a horrifying climax that anyone who saw the trailer would have seen coming. What is it with the marketing of films these days? How can you be afraid/excited if you already know what happens?
It goes to show that a horror film can be much scarier with silence and build up rather than overblown visuals which either draw a derisive laugh or worse. You won’t find any computer generated images that look like they had no effort put into them. Also the demon that haunts the house is never shown so his presence isn’t degraded by a Jason Voorhees style face. The most you ever see of him is a shadow that appears once or twice. The idea of it being shot entirely in the found footage format works a thousand times better than if it had been filmed the regular way. That said, the visual element of the film is subtle and not in your face, which makes you realize that sometimes less is more.
The acting in this is just beyond amazing and you can really feel sympathy for the characters as they go through all different kinds of psychological torment. Katie is a great actress and I think it is hard not to feel sad for her as she is the main focus of the Demon’s attention. She easily beats every other character in the trilogy. In contrast Micah is a bit of an idiot because he continuously antagonizes the Demon much to Katie’s irritation. Honestly, what kind of person does that? Needless to say, though, despite Micah faults the chemistry between him and Katie is perfectly believable. It isn’t exactly like Clarice and Hannibal, but is probably one of the closest things you can get to that level of on screen acting perfection. It is sad because the later films, particularly the second one, brought in more characters that are all a bit bland by comparison to Katie and Micah.
Paranormal Activity is an eerie and memorable film that will stay with you long after it is over. While the hype surrounding it is ridiculous it isn’t hard to understand why people feel so strongly about it. If you are after a superior horror film with a great story and excellent acting give this a look. You won’t be disappointed.