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Paranormal Activity (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000127540
Added by: Si Wooldridge
Added on: 29/3/2010 06:34
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    Review for Paranormal Activity

    1 / 10


    Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) are a young couple who move into a new house together, but find that they are disturbed by a presence that is most active during the time the couple are sleeping. Unsure as to whether the presence is demonic or benign, the couple look to record the activity to try to work out what is happening.

    It turns out that Katie, a student, has felt haunted since she was about 8years old and believes that this presence has been following her around but is now making itself felt within the household. Boyfriend Micah is a day trader with money to spare, so he decide to go all high tech on the presence with a HD video camera and an array of computers so that all the footage can be uploaded and watched to see what is going on.

    It turns out that the presence of Micah's camera might just have annoyed the presence slightly but as his concern and curiosity turns to obsession, so the activity of the presence begins to escalate…


    It turned up on a DVD-R so the picture and sound quality weren't brilliant, maybe the fully authored DVD's are better, not sure. This also has the obligatory banner through the middle of the screen but as Icon have clearly learnt from previous review copies, it doesn't appear that often or for that long (thank heavens for small mercies).


    Nothing on the review copy, but apparently the retail version contains the following:

    Audio commentary from director/writer/cinematographer Oren Peli

    'Film Your Own Paranormal Activity' short film finalists

    Alternative Ending with optional commentary


    This film is 'the most intense horror experience of the ten years' according to Robbie Collin from the News of the World and given 5 stars. Clearly Robbie either hasn't got out much during the last decade or it was a blatant attempt to get a quote on the cover art a la Paul Ross. If it was the latter it only partially worked as the quote is attributed to the paper rather than the author. Ah well…

    So what's wrong with this film? It's filmed as a mix of first and third person as if this is a series of home movies that just happens to document paranormal activity. This is very reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project, an earlier film where the hype made the film feel scarier than it was in reality. This film consists mainly of black & white night footage of the couple in bed whilst doors move, footprints appear and bedcovers move. One of the main problems is that there is really no element of surprise as the camera footage and ever present clock/timer speeds up and then slows down, telegraphing that something is about to happen - mostly it's a bit of anti-climax when it does though.

    Acting wise, it's almost like a long improv piece with long takes - where the intention must be to make the film feel like the home movie I described earlier. Does it work? Well, I have to say that I quite liked Katie Featherston and felt she was quite a natural at it and she evoked sympathy for her character. Micah Sloat, however, was a different story as I just felt his character was not only a little forced but that he was a bit of a dick as well. There were times where I really questioned his maturity, such as his argument with Katie over the presence of the Ouiji board in the house which went something like this: "You said I shouldn't buy a Ouiji board and I didn't, I borrowed it". Are you 13 or something?

    The overall problem with this film is that it is very slow moving and it isn't long before tedium sets in as you get annoyed at the intermittent bangs during endless shots of the same room and corridor. I started watching this a week ago and stopped it about halfway through from boredom and then had to force myself to pick it back up again a week later. I was also expecting an 'in yer face' shot similar to any one of a million viral video's that you see on youTube and most people have been sent by e-mail. There is one here, only the one really, and thankfully they at least save it until the climax of the film, which is so telegraphed that it came almost on cue.

    So long periods of tedium followed by a pretty predictable and short ending.

    Let's hope Peli's next film Area 51 is a little better…

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