Directed by Oren Peli.
Written by Oren Peli.
Starring Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat.
Release Year: 2009
Review Date: 10/30/09
Talk about a wacky phenomenon--"Paranormal
Activity" even managed to crush the most recent "Saw" release when
it went wide a week ago. This is pretty amazing, given how
unbelievably terrible "Paranormal Activity" is. But, I am not
a hater--I give credit where credit is due, and the people
responsible for marketing this film have helped writer/director Oren
Peli get mega-rich, mega-quick, without even a decent film to back
up the campaign.
Full disclosure--any time you see a movie
AFTER the big hype, you are more susceptible to come in like I did
and say, "hey, I need to see this to know what the fuss is all
about." Second full disclosure--with its lack of big scares
and foreshadowing so blatant the ending is handed to us mid-film,
you should feel comfortable taking your "fraidy cat" significant
other to a film like this because it is strangely unscary.
Rating R for language, "Paranormal Activity"
follows a couple (played by Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) who
is haunted by a demon that blows around in their suburban home.
In order to address the situation, Micah decides to videotape their
bedroom every night to see if they can catch a glimpse of the
demon...and, well, they do, but in the form of little things (at
first) like wind blowing around in a room, or a door moving a few
inches. Each day they review the previous night's tape, and
talk about how freaky all of it is, and then they go to bed, only to
watch things get worse.
help "Paranormal Activity" get a lot of mileage out of the "Even
Though We Are in Real Danger, Make Sure You Lug That Camera Around
at All Times" model, and that also makes the movie a real snoozer.
I fell asleep twice during the film's first 30 minutes, a problem
that "Quarantine" had as well; we only have two actors to follow
around, neither of which is very interesting; we know that nothing
is going to happen during the daytime, so that makes 75% of the
movie uninteresting. The gimmick of taping each night's action
is cool until you realize that you are going to have to watch the
couple watch the tape each day, milking another ten minutes out of
There were two kinda spooky moments in
"Paranormal Activity"; I know of one, and for the other, it was
mainly spooky because it literally woke me up out of a 2-3 minute
nap. (My friend Rodney confirmed for me later that this really
was a little spooky for those that were awake, so don't mind me.)
The idea of having the demon make a noise each time it was around
didn't work for me; I would have preferred no noise/no music to make
each entry into the room that much more scary.
Honestly, even if I saw this three weeks
before it got to theaters, it wouldn't have changed anything for
me--its biggest problem was that I don't have a fear of the dark,
and I think that's important in a film like this...worse, it just
wasn't very interesting. It doesn't set a mood like "The Blair
Witch Project" did, you aren't given a reason to believe any of this
could happen, and there wasn't a single horror "jump" moment in the
movie. (Hell, even most PG-13 horror movies have something
that at least makes me jump!) Even the pixelated faces in the
trailer for "The Fourth Kind" freak me out more than anything in
"Paranormal Activity." But, again, kudos to the marketing
people for this movie--great job of selling a product that
ultimately didn't deliver for me.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard