Over the weekend we watched Paranormal Activity. I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about it. Some saying it was very boring, some saying it was very scary. My husband and I, being amateur ghost hunters ourselves were very anxious to see this movie, but movie prices being what they are, we waited until the dvd release.
The movie itself has a very similar feel to...I'm going to say it, The Blair Witch Project. If you liked one, you're probably going to like the other (though personally I'm not a huge fan of TBWP). It has the same "documentary" style, the same shaky, hand held camera feel to it.
I must say, this is the first movie that truly scared me in a very long time. I would call this a true horror movie. Not like the torture pornos that seem to be competing amongst themselves to see who can stuff in more fake blood and gore into 90 minutes without getting an nc-17 rating and still call themselves horror movies. Paranormal Activity was truly successful, IMO, of actually providing edge of your seat fright. And I imagine that if I had been watching this on a huge theater screen I would have been screaming at certain points. Though I do have to add that I thought the first 20 minutes or so of this movie were kind of dull. I found myself mostly just admiring the house the characters are living in.
The plot is simple. Katie has been experiencing paranormal activity all of her life, it is connected to her and not to any particular location. When the paranormal activity starts to happen in the house she shares with her boyfriend, they call in a psychic who leads them to believe that they are actually being haunted by a demon. They set up a camera by their bed in hopes to capture some of the activity. The whole movie is the footage from this camera.
I think the fact that they never show the demon istelf is truly terrifying, there is nothing more scary than what you can imagine in your own head. You are only seeing the aftermath of it being there, shadows moving, lights turning on and off, heavy footsteps, doors slamming shut. As someone who has experienced some of these things, and is afraid of the dark, I found these elements to be quite creepy.
Overall the movie is quite slow until the last half hour or so. If you get the dvd, there is an alternate ending, but I highly recommend watching the theatrical version first. I thought that ending was much scarier.
The characters themselves are great. They are very believable and you forget that you are watching actors. The male lead, Micha though pissed me off, in the way he wasn't taking the haunting seriously, challenging the demon and trying mockingly to communicate (despite promising Katie he wouldn't)
So To sum up, I thought this movie was very good, a truly scary horror movie. It's been a few days since we've watched it, but since then it's been on my mind every night just before going to sleep, which to me means that it was truly scary.
I give it five stars!