Paranormal Activity Review: Poopable Terror

November 25, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: On General Release Across the UK from Wednesday 25th November 2009

Far scarier than anything Clive Barker could ever dream up, I’ll never forget the frenzied, tenalady-dampening fear in my mother’s eyes as she forbade me from watching The Wicker Man as a child.

“There’s something unsettling about that film, something evil,” she’d whisper, finger outstretched from behind the sofa.

While its 2006 Nicholas Cage remake terrified critics and audiences for all the hilariously wrong reasons, the original The Wicker Man – much like The Exorcist and The Blair Witch Project – proved to be yet another case of overhyped scaremongering.

So with the ‘Scariest Thing Everâ„¢’ PR machine steadily growling its way across billboards, TV adverts and the interweb into social consciousness (with a personal recommendation from Mr Spielberg to boot), is Paranormal Activity a genuine contender for horror of the year or another case of the The Blah Bitch Project?

Pack your Tenalady, this is the real deal.

The epitome of less is more, Paranormal Activity has as simple a set-up as you can imagine. Twenty-something couple Katie and Micah live in a small surburban home that’s being subjected to more than a few bumps, thumps and sheer bloody terrifying happenings in the night. As Katie reveals her own personal history with the mysterious entity, professional douche boyfriend Micah decides the best form of action is to aggravate it.

When an exorcist flees from the flat after 2 minutes, and attempts to contact the otherworldly pantsoiler backfire in the worst possible way, it’s clear this isn’t something you can run away from.

Paranormal Activity uses its minimal budget and lack of CGI to brilliant effect, drawing on irrational fears and overactive imaginations to ratchet up the tension. The couple position a singular camera at the foot of their bed, and as the timer on the bottom right hand of the screen speeds through the night, its inevitable slowing down signals the arrival of yet another attack, and the audience is immediately wired in preparation of what’s to come.

That you know that something is about to happen and yet are still just as nervy every time is an impressive feat.

With a movie like Paranormal Activity, it’s far better to leave the spoilers as light as possible to ensure viewers are subjected to the same shocking, spine-chilling rollercoaster experience as the rest of us.

You just need to know that while it may not be the most original, nor the most iconic horror you’ll ever see, it deftly combines the feeling of inescapable terror from this year’s other horror masterpiece Drag Me To Hell, with a thought-provoking, long-lasting ‘what if?’ imagination sparker that’s guaranteed to stay with you days after.

Matt Risley

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