Director Oren Peli has set a new benchmark in horror by means of a simple notion with subtle and in your face scares that are so well distributed throughout the film that it’s almost impossible to fault as a horror film.
The idea is simple and the concept well known by now if you’ve seen the trailer, heard about the film from anyone or read our US review here so i wont go into to much detail on the film but i will give my views and feelings on the film.
So basically a young couple decide to film their experience of being haunted in their home and the footage is what was supposedly found afterwards. The woman, Katie, has experienced a haunting presence since her youth and her partner, Micah, is curious of her experiences and rather doubtful of them so he buys a big camera to record it all.
The film then follows the couple showing their relationship and a pretty convincing one too, which leads for you believe in them as characters (even though slightly annoying at times) which in turn leads you to be drawn into the whole experience that for me made it even more scary and believable.
It’s when we enter the night scenes that things start getting scary, and for me the most powerful part of the film is the shot of the bedroom with the hallway leading off it to the other bedrooms, stairs and loft access room at night that will forever be etched into my mind, for this single angled shot, for everyone in the cinema was associated with “something bad is about to happen” and often it was.
I can’t fully explain how terrifying it was but the best way is how everyone reacted to the above shot appearing, nervous bums adjusted themselves on squeaky seats, people sighed, some uttered the words “oh no” as the scene began to play out and we all waited for what was to come, the recording timer clicked on and together we collectively held our breath.
I’m not going to ruin all of what you see as this is what makes the film so successful, but the sounds along with the visual fright you experience is unlike anything You have ever witnessed and confirms the film as a true true horror experience that for me will be the most successful scare film of all time.
Overall the films pace runs perfectly along with the daytime scenes eventually becoming more and more scary, especially a scene of the demons breath blowing Katie’s hair (I’m getting Goosebumps just thinking about it) is unexpected and smacks you in the face with anxiety, that mixed with the haunting sound effects at night of unseen footsteps running, walking or stomping just adds to your fear and these footsteps lead to one of the most terrifying scenes of the film that will leave you breathless, it’s perfect and doesn’t rely on cheap scares to succeed, it’s all about the impending fear and even though you know something is coming you can’t help be terrified.
My favourite moment, and possibly one of my favourite all time cinema crowd reactions was when a grown man screamed a very loud manly scream when something happened during one of the night scenes and although it got a lot of chuckles, this man did what everyone wanted to do and it perfectly summed up the film, it really is that scary.
I feel the only let down was the ending, although truly creepy and terrifying, it’s all a bit Hollywood (sequel announced) but the build up to it was quite brilliant and although you see nothing but the view of the bedroom, its the sounds occurring that make it work so dam well.
Paranormal Activity is a pure joy to watch in terms of being scared out of your mind and its guaranteed to scare anyone that watches it and those that say it wasn’t scary must have closed their eyes.
My score 9 out of 10.