A little movie that could. Paranormal Activity was made within a miniscule budget but raked up millions, even dethroning the long standing and better budgeted and marketed Saw series from the box-office. The film was then released to a wider audience with an ambitious tagline such as the one read in the poster as “one of the scariest movies in all time.” Well, the film works. It lives up to its claim. It is a truly scary film. However, given the outstanding word-of-mouth from the inter-who, I went into the film with a high expectation only to find that it’s no more scarier than say, “The Orphanage.” Mind you, it still scary.
The premise of the film is simple. A troubled young woman who claimed that she was haunted for the last 15 years of her life no matter where she lives. She now lives with her boyfriend who was more skeptical, scorned the psychic his girlfriend consulting, and finally bought a camera to record whatever happened in the house. Especially when they were sleeping. This of course, is a bad idea.
Of why the film is scary is that it uses the single one effective thing in a horror film. Your imagination. The film offers scenes only from the camera the boyfriend has (mounted or held or otherwise). Most of the time we don’t get to see what happened even if we heard voices and that’s where the imagination kicked in. Micah and Katie (that was the name of the couple) are convincing, and they rendition of daylight conversation probably enough to made general audiences thought that it was a doc instead of a carefully scripted film. I mean, when I got out of the theater I hear a woman said convincingly to her partner that it was a true story with real footage and such. I’d like to break the news to her, but thought better of it, I mean it’s 2 a.m. and I’m certainly not in the mood to argue. However, of course, the real meat of the film was during the wee hours when Katie and Micah were asleep.
It is probably our inherent trait as a human that most of us begin our life fearing the dark. The film effectively exercises this, that before long every time we get to see a dark bedroom, positioned with carefully lighting enough to generate curiosity and fooling your eyes to see some shadows flickering here and there at times, there’s a mounting silent anticipation from the audiences. My eyes were glued to the screen with my jacket on hand ready for cover (which, I’ve never used, by the way) and my ears perked up to catch any straying sounds. The bedroom scenes were gradually scary, begins simple, and going only up from there. I found that two of the most terrifying moments in the film begins when … oh, I’m going to stop here.
My rating: ***1/2 / **** You said you’re horror fans? Well, go see it already. Sure, it doesn’t have any gore, violence, oozing blood, disgusting special-effect, and such but if your imagination is wild (I just found out that one of my friend claimed that she has no imagination which I think, implausible), this is an effective horror film. I had a good yell at one of the two most terrifying moments in the film when … okay, I’m stopping now.