Paranormal Activity (15)

Film

Horror films

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Nov 24 2009

‘The fear of what happens at night while you are asleep,’ director Oren Peli has observed, ‘is a primal one that everyone has in common.’ It’s this feeling of vulnerability that Peli’s slow-burning supernatural chiller so effectively exploits, fashioning heart-stopping scares out of almost nothing. Shown without opening or closing credits, the images are presented as ‘found’ video footage recorded inside the San Diego suburban home of day trader Micah (Micah Sloat) and his graduate student girlfriend Katie (Katie Featherston), whose sleep is disturbed by those bumps, scratches and creaks that tease your peripheral hearing when you’re half asleep. The crucial difference is that what was once unknowable is now visible, thanks to a ‘night vision’ video camera set up in the couple’s bedroom.

It’s Micah who bought the video camera, and it is he who obsessively pores over hours of footage, searching for black-and-white evidence that the house is haunted. What the camera coldly observes is disturbing but far from conclusive: a shadow falls across the open bedroom door; a sheet billows as if something is trying to slip beneath it; sleepwalking Katie climbs out of the bed and stands beside it, vibrating slightly on the spot. Despite this, we empathise totally with Katie’s powerlessness and fear. We want to shout ‘Wake up!’, but we know she won’t hear us. Micah, by contrast, is oblivious to Katie’s deteriorating mental state and to the unravelling of their friendly, relaxed relationship. During a visit by an oddball psychic, Katie and Micah were told that the demon – if that is what it is – will feed off any emotional discord, a warning that now seems to be coming true.

In the ten years since the success of ‘The Blair Witch Project’, dozens of horror movies have tried and failed to emulate its surprise success. So what is it that made ‘Paranormal Activity’, a $15,000 debut feature shot in a week by a computer-games programmer, into a $100 million box-office phenomenon? Well, leaving aside Paramount’s brilliant viral marketing campaign, pretty much everything.

Firstly, as Peli acknowledges, actors Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston are not merely improvising their characters, they’re telling the story; as individuals and as a couple, they are both utterly natural and convincing. Secondly, Peli’s familiarity with technology allows him to make imaginative, compelling use of it, achieving maximum effect with minimum resources. Even when the camera is locked on to the tripod, showing only a static shot of the bedroom, its open door and the corridor beyond, the quivering tension is maintained, our eyes combing the shadows and the edges of the frame in search of anything out of the ordinary. Thirdly, Peli makes brilliant use of sound effects, sometimes forcing us to imagine entire scenes that take place off-screen. See it if you dare – sleepless nights await.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Nov 27, 2009

Duration:

86 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Oren Peli

Screenwriter:

Oren Peli

Cast:

Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:15
  • 4 star:11
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|57
1 person listening
Bailey G

One of the best horror films of all time. It's creepy, unsettling and very disturbing, it will blow your mind away when you see this picture.

Bibi

Great horror! Way better than all the usual Hollywood C*** that is churned out. Believable (was it really a true story?) We wondered if it was all real footage that had been used! Apart from the ending!! Last time I saw a film as CREEPY was THE BELL WITCH: AN AMERICAN HAUNTING. Loved it! Recommended

Corey Coyle

This is the scariest film ever made. I didnt really like the Blair Witch but i LOVED this. The ending is absolutley terrifying! I recommend this to anyone who claims that they will never be scared of any film because it was hard for me to sleep after watching this and I hardly ever find horror films that scary.

Corey Coyle

This is the scariest film ever made. I didnt really like the Blair Witch but i LOVED this. The ending is absolutley terrifying! I recommend this to anyone who claims that they will never be scared of any film because it was hard for me to sleep after watching this and I hardly ever find horror films that scary.

Thomas Noctor

Why do idiots who dislike horror movies watch movies like this? Go watch your chick flicks! Or your crappy 'horrors' like 'The Ring'! This is class, if you find this boring go look at 'He's just not that into you'!

Thomas Noctor

Why do idiots who dislike horror movies watch movies like this? Go watch your chick flicks! Or your crappy 'horrors' like 'The Ring'! This is class, if you find this boring go look at 'He's just not that into you'!

Grant

I expected to be disappointed by this film but I must confess that it did creep-me-out a bit. Technically it's well-constructed and builds nicely and with a degree of subtlety. The acting is good and mostly believable, although I wouldn't have been as gung-ho as the male lead if this was happening for real in my house. The progression of events makes some sort of sense and the denouement works too. I never 'got' Blair Witch Project; it just seemed incredibly phoney and extremely boring but this film pushed my buttons. I knew this wasn't real but there was a well-crafted verisimilitude to the whole production. A suggestion: watch it on your own or with a loved one, in the dark and you'll certainly get, at least, the odd little chill.

critique

Intriguing stuff. If you enjoyed `Blair Witch`, i`d be surprised if you dislike this.

Thomas Noctor

Class film ignore the haters, they obviously know nothing about low budget horrors. Excellent Movie!

Thomas Noctor

Class film ignore the haters, they obviously know nothing about low budget horrors. Excellent Movie!

gab

If you think this is scary, you must live in North London. Suspension of belief is normal in horror films, but some of the things the characters do border on the pointless and insane and make no sense whatsoever, after what we see them do and say earlier. The ending is a cop out, too.

Fen

Not a horror film fan. Drag Me To Hell nearly stopped me going to the cinema full stop, regardless of the genre of film on offer. I did, however, think this was top notch, It avoided the usual cliches of the tension being built up for it to then fall on its @rse as 'Ahh, it was an open window blowing the curtains' or 'Oh, a cat jumped out' happens. You'll eventually be dreading every night time scene, hiding behind your hands when it fades into the bedroom once again, the fear of what the next escalated 'bump' in the night will bring. Also, the new ending on the current cinema released version is terrifying. Definately try and see this on the big screen while you still can. Next, Avatar . . .

Fen

Not a horror film fan. Drag Me To Hell nearly stopped me going to the cinema full stop, regardless of the genre of film on offer. I did, however, think this was top notch, It avoided the usual cliches of the tension being built up for it to then fall on its @rse as 'Ahh, it was an open window blowing the curtains' or 'Oh, a cat jumped out' happens. You'll eventually be dreading every night time scene, hiding behind your hands when it fades into the bedroom once again, the fear of what the next escalated 'bump' in the night will bring. Also, the new ending on the current cinema released version is terrifying. Definately try and see this on the big screen while you still can. Next, Avatar . . .

podgey

4* you gotta be Sh**ing me it wasn't even that scary the whole movie managed to bore me to absolute insanity. My partner and I could not believe the film makers utter dis regard for the audiences entertainment. Surely a film that will be watched by many should have at least a little excitement horror it may have been , but for my partner and I it was simply horrifying in the wrong way. The film maker had made quite an impact on us however perhaps not the response he was hoping for.

Tim

I've generally a massive sceptic of most 'horror' films, especially with the recent trend of large Hollywood blockbusters that have less fright potential than a duck. Paranormal Activity can take any doubting but open-minded viewer and lead them on a path from mocking apathy to shaking wreck in the final moments, as the atmosphere builds and the viewer's cynicism disappears with that of the lead macho male. Amazing suspense and use of the fact that the unknown is always scarier than that which is seen (see - Signs).

Tim

I've generally a massive sceptic of most 'horror' films, especially with the recent trend of large Hollywood blockbusters that have less fright potential than a duck. Paranormal Activity can take any doubting but open-minded viewer and lead them on a path from mocking apathy to shaking wreck in the final moments, as the atmosphere builds and the viewer's cynicism disappears with that of the lead macho male. Amazing suspense and use of the fact that the unknown is always scarier than that which is seen (see - Signs).

jeremykyle

If you are a scientifically illiterate noob who believes in ghosts and thinks the boogie man will come to get you, then this film will probably terrify you. If you have an education and a mediocre brain this film is appaulingly mundane criminally slow drivel. You will fall asleep very quickly. I get scared by alot of films fairly easily. This was not worth the cinema ticket.

Thomas Noctor

I just read a hillarious comment from LuLu " its a pity there wasn't more money spent on this" Are you for real? The reason this film was so successful is because it was made for Nine Thousand Euros. It was an experiment and the Directors first film. I cant believe you thought there was going to be special effects thats so funny! I hope it aint remade, it could end up like a non scary American crappy film like The Ring!

Thomas Noctor

I just read a hillarious comment from LuLu " its a pity there wasn't more money spent on this" Are you for real? The reason this film was so successful is because it was made for Nine Thousand Euros. It was an experiment and the Directors first film. I cant believe you thought there was going to be special effects thats so funny! I hope it aint remade, it could end up like a non scary American crappy film like The Ring!

Lulu

I read the good and bad reviews before going to see this film and went with an open mind. I love horror movies but I must say that I was disappointed. The story and idea is good but if its effects you're after don't go and see this movie. It's a shame that more money wasn't spent on it

Cheeko

Top film, not dat scary but certainly very freaky and afew jumpy parts. Acting was brill, Micah n Katie were v believable and convincing. A well made movie dat I recommend all horror film fans to watch.

Thomas Noctor

Film of the year, and by some distance too. People who dont like this obviously dont like Paranormal movies. It was made for 10 grand, give it a break it was class. Alot of hard men saying 'I wasnt scared', laughing nervously. Watch this on your own in the dark, top notch horror way better than crap like the ring or insults to horrors such as Drag Me To Hell (Turkey by the way, bad comedy attempt) Paranormal Activity 150 out of 5!

Thomas Noctor

Film of the year, and by some distance too. People who dont like this obviously dont like Paranormal movies. It was made for 10 grand, give it a break it was class. Alot of hard men saying 'I wasnt scared', laughing nervously. Watch this on your own in the dark, top notch horror way better than crap like the ring or insults to horrors such as Drag Me To Hell (Turkey by the way, bad comedy attempt) Paranormal Activity 150 out of 5!

Laura

Scary ending, decent film. Not that scary bar the end, just a but jumpy

blahbarian

like this a lot, at least til the end when a few to familiar hallmarks of possession films started to surface. i never wanted to say 'wake up!' however, more 'shut/lock the door!'. really good film though, and it didnt hurt that the female lead was so um, womanly.

tree bag

not good, not horrible. it kept my attention. i enjoyed the few jolting bits. believable charachters - in that post-grad/pre-adult annoyingly materialistic manner - but i didn't CARE about them. they were just really stupid. and i was distracted by the relationship...he was a complete tw*t. and by the end i found myself less concerned about what happened to them than how much i knew they were going to deserve it. reminded me a lot of that one about the on-holiday couple ermerging from a scuba dive to realise they'd been left behind.

mags

The comment you type in this box will appear on the s Films like this that are hyped to the max have a lot to live up to. I think it did well. A bit long maybe and you need to suspend belief for a bit- ie would you REALLY be able to sleep in that apartment after even the first night of disturbance?? and wouldn't you look at getting a few more experts on board to help out??? But I enjoyed the movie and felt I got my money's worth and I'm a real cynic. Go see it and enjoy mags

woo

i thot it was really good, i was really scared! one of the only half decent horror films about

woo

i thot it was really good, i was really scared! one of the only half decent horror films about

rogerrabbit

The trailer says it all....more home made movie s*** only thing thats scary is that people are paying to see this visual crap. Wheelie bins all over will be filling up at the back of blockbuster in 3months with copies of this cloverfield & that bloody awful blair witch p**h !!!! Why is it americans seem too hype up trash like this and try to flog to a uk market that by the comments here do agree . this is utter S*** !! save ur money

ellie

giving it 5 stars because it was a brill horror and its a must see xox

ellie

giving it 5 stars because it was a brill horror and its a must see xox

candice amplifier III

Considering the nature of the reviews that Time Out bestows being largely informed, erudite and deriving from a scholarly background, it astounds me that so many complete arseheads not only choose to read the reviews but then proceed to write some completely inane drivel in these boxes below. Not only do these people have nothing to offer by way of critique, they also convey the sort of vacuous ramblings that speaks of poor education, low intellect and a desperate need of attention. Please do the rest of us a favour and bury your sorry heads in the sand until you come up with a legitimate reason not to kill yourselves, or failing that try not to be utter neanderthals. PS I realise this is not the place for a rant. It would appear somewhat arbitrary to speak of the film itself at this juncture so won't - 4 stars

pauline

i found the film quite disturbing,ive not been this scared since watching the original amityville house.it was a film that kept you rivetted till the end. i enjoyed it immensley.the people that say it was rubbish are just trying to be big and brave,they were probably scared to death really,i couldnt have watched it on my own lets put it that way,very good i thought ,

Thomas Noctor

Drag Me To Hell is a comedy and worst film of the year! Talking goat? Paranormal Activity is film of the year!

Thomas Noctor

Drag Me To Hell is a comedy and worst film of the year! Talking goat? Paranormal Activity is film of the year!

Julie Blint

Rubbish aapart from last 15mins. Go see DRAG ME TO HELL is you want to be scared..Loved it !

Craigganmore

The whol premise of this film relies on you being scared. All the pre-release build up and the way the film is structured points to this bein git's sole aim. Therefore its success as a film is easily judged by the answer to the question: Is it scray? Well, if when you stand in front of a bright light, the resultant projection scares the living shit out of you, you might find this film scary. Otherwise, absolutely not. Avoid.

SuperKat

Disappointing, to say the least................ I thought this was building up nicely, with hints of an interesting back-story........Alas I was wrong. Just another blah-blah demon story with too much hype

Lady Lisa

Dull, dull, dull - don't believe the hype! Apart from the last 20 minutes which was just about OK from what I could hear over the snores, I've seen scarier Walt Disney films!

Thomas Noctor

If Paranormal Activity aint scary, what film is? I went to see this again last night and I'm looking forward to my third time! For REAL horror fans see it, if you like chick flicks avoid!

Thomas Noctor

If Paranormal Activity aint scary, what film is? I went to see this again last night and I'm looking forward to my third time! For REAL horror fans see it, if you like chick flicks avoid!

GABRIELA

BurianCan't believe how rubbish was "paranormal activities", was waiting for the scary bits but they never came! thats 2 hours of my life watsed ! LOL x if i were to pick the worst movie i have ever seen that would be it

Dave B

watched this in southampton after seeing the trailer on TV the evening before. this is a simple film which sets out to scare and certanly succeeds. the couple moving into their first house together finding that all is not rosey on the spiritual front, as the girl brings more than physical luggage into the house. I enjoyed this film, which was'nt too long and the acting by all was passable, the films ending however, could have been handled much better. Altogether, a must see for christmas as you will jump and you will sleep with the lights on and bedroom door closed after seeing this!....Enjoy

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