I believe in the paranormal. I’ve had experiences in the past which are unexplainable. They all point towards the paranormal, even though I don’t have any evidence. None of the encounters were harmful, but they were alarming. Many people laugh off my “stories”, but I still believe them to this day.
Whether or not he believes in it, Oren Peli tells a great ghost story. His story revolves around a young couple, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat), who recently have moved into their own house. Strange happenings start to occur, as Katie reveals to Micah that she’s had paranormal activity follow her around since she was a child. He’s curious about the activity and decides to film any and all happenings.
This includes an interview with a local psychic (Mark Fredrichs). He warns the couple that what is inhabiting their home isn’t a ghost, but a demon. Even worse is that the demon has followed Katie around for her whole life, attaching itself to her for unknown reasons. The psychic warns them not to anger or provoke the demon. He gives them the number to a demonologist and goes on his way.
Katie has no problem ignoring the demon, but Micah has a newly-found interest in the lurker. Despite constant warnings, he continually films the happenings, most of which happen at night. He sets up his camera before he goes to sleep, capturing any activity that transpires in their room and in the hallway.
Each night, the demon gets worse. What starts out as simple bangs turns into frightening taunts. Katie wants to call the demonologist, but Micah wants to continue his own personal investigation. Before long, he gets him and his girlfriend into a dangerous battle with the demon. With the demonologist out of town, they must work together to rid themselves of this evil.
Paranormal Activity had a lot of hype surrounding it. Being hailed as one of the most frightening movies in years, audiences were expecting a classic. Some found it, while others left disappointed. I myself didn’t cave into the hype. Sure, it increased my interest. But, as I’ve done in the past, all that hype goes away as I begin the movie, clearing my mind so that I can perfectly view the movie without any expectations.
I was impressed. Oren Peli tells a creepy story, using the “found footage” method to entice and involve the viewer. This works well, as you connect with Katie and Micah whilst getting some good paranormal scenes. These scenes aren’t over the top, but instead calm, yet chilling.
As each night progresses, Peli ups the ante a bit, sending Katie and Micah for a hellacious ride. On each night, I found myself scanning the room for anything out of the ordinary whilst perking up my ears to hear anything. Almost every time, I was caught off guard or surprised. Though many of the activities may have been huge, they were effective. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, the activity does get more destructive as time moves along.
Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat do a tremendous job. Both play the average young couple to a tee. They’re relatable and likable, even with their downfalls. It’s easy for the viewer to get attached to them, which makes the paranormal activities much more impactful. My only gripe is with Micah, who seems to slip and stumble a bit when it comes time for the serious takes near the end. He does a fine job leading up to it, but seems lost when the finale kicks in. Katie, on the other hand, improves as the finale nears, going all out with her fear and dread.
Paranormal Activity isn’t a masterpiece, but it is very memorable. Oren Peli tells a creepy story, creating two very likable characters in Katie and Micah, played tremendously by the same named actors. The pacing is perfect, transitioning in to the paranormal scenes. The activity builds and grows within each night, getting creepier and creepier. It may not be a classic, but it comes close.