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Paranormal Activity (2007)

The Blair Witch Project has a lot to answer for. Its groundbreaking deployment of the ‘Found Footage’ concept created an entirely new sub-genre, which to the delight of skinflint movie producers everywhere, made non-existent production values an integral part of the appeal. In the right hands, found-footage movies can be chillingly effective. Viewed in context, very few possession-moments in cinema history are as spine-freezingly frightening as the brief shot of Mike stood silently facing the wall of the Blair Witch’s old house.

Paranormal Activity’s phenomenal box office success gave new life to the Found Footage genre, after several years of Torture Porn horror movies had started to outstay their welcome. Shot entirely on camcorders, this is purportedly the result of a suburban couple documenting strange goings-on in their house. In the grand tradition of The Haunting, director Oren Peli creates extraordinary amounts of tension via the simple expedient of slamming doors and loud footsteps. Things escalate until the climax when a possessed Karen rises from her bed and stands, silently watching her sleeping husband for hours. Eventually she leaves the room and goes downstairs. Her husband is woken moments later by an ear-drum rupturing scream and…well, I don’t want to ruin it for you.

See also: Insidious (2010) and As Above So Below (2014)
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If your pub team is short of an encyclopedic Bond or Hammer fan (the horror people, not the early-90s, billow-trousered rap icon) - then he's our man. Given that these are rather popular areas of critical expertise, he is happy to concentrate on the remaining cinematic subjects. He loves everything from Michael Powell to David Lean, via 70s New Hollywood up to David Fincher and Wes Anderson; from Bergman and Kubrick to Roger Corman and Herschell Gordon Lewis. If he could only take one DVD to the island it would be Jaws, but that's as specific as it gets. You have a lovely day now. Follow him at your own risk at https://mobile.twitter.com/CaiRoss21