There are many films that try to capitalize on the success of other projects. Usually these types of movies are referred to as “mockbuster’s”. I’m not sure if Paranormal Entity was truly created with the intention of attempting to play on the success of its better known counterpart, Paranormal Activity, but it sure seems quite obvious. Director/producer/writer and one of the main actors, Shane Van Dyke, tries desperately to recreate the mood and mindset that audiences found themselves in when they left their viewing of Activity. I personally feel that he failed at this task.
Similar plot, story, setting, climax, result, everything. Thomas Finley (Van Dyke) lives at home along with his mother, Ellen (Fia Perera), and sister, Samantha (Erin Marie Hogan). Before the release of this footage, Thomas was arrested for the alleged rape and murder of his sister as well as the murder of a paranormal investigator. He tried to convince the authorities that it was actually the doing of an invisible demonic force that terrorized his family within their home. The movie begins with the disclaimer that people close to the family felt this footage should be shown to the public to help explain the mystery of the family’s downward spiral after the death of their husband and father, David.
This film is filled with a number of unexplained occurrences at, of course, the wee hours of the morning, which seems to be prime ghost hour. The entity seems to be targeting Samantha more than any other member of the family. From doors slamming shut and objects moving by themselves to their mother, Ellen, seemingly sleepwalking throughout the house during the night without her realizing are just some of the happenings that are caught on the cameras that Thomas has set up throughout their home.
For me, it seems that this film is, as I said, a copy-cat of Paranormal Activity. It may have had slightly more “unexplained occurrences” caught on tape but it doesn’t emit the same feeling of weirdness that messes with your head as its predecessor does. It might take on that effect if it were released first but still I doubt it.
An issue with the “found footage” style of filmmaking that I have is that unless the plot really has something about it that maintains your interest, the movie really feels like it drags. It lacks the scene to scene transference that normal filmmaking presents. The constant slow fadings in and out between scenes were more annoying than giving off the scary illusion that it was meant to do. Another frustrating aspect was the constant heavy breathing of Van Dyke who manned the camera throughout the film. I wanted to tell him to shut up about a quarter of the way through.
Other than those points, those super die-hard fans of Activity might enjoy or at least tolerate this version. To get the full effect, snuggle up with your loved one, turn off the lights and turn up the volume. Might not do anything for you without setting the correct environment. I give Paranormal Entity “2 literal haunted houses out of 5”.
“MY SISTER’S DEAD, IT KILLED HER! IT KILLED HER, MY SISTER’S DEAD! -CRYING…”