movie review: paranormal activity (no spoilers)


I went to see this a few days ago because there’s a lot of people out there calling it one the scariest movies ever made.  At least one reviewer said it was the scariest film they’ve ever seen.  That’s a lot of hype to live up to.  Based on what I saw, I think it’s fair to meet them all halfway and proclaim that Paranormal Activity is “the scariest movie released this month.”  Give me a frakking break, guys – this is not the scariest movie ever, although it is perhaps the most repetitive movie of all time.


I’m going to keep this short, but since it’s Halloween I figured there might be a lot of people out there thinking about seeing it and I wanted to warn all of you – don’t believe the hype.  We all know that this is the year the critics have decided to get together and share a collective opinion about everything (i.e. “Speed Racer Sucks” or “Star Trek is the greatest thing ever,” etc), and it happened again with Paranormal Activity; instead of forming their own opinions, it seems like everyone has already walked into the theater, brainwashed into believing that what they are about to see is the scariest movie ever – and somehow they walk out believing it.  I don’t know why, maybe they’re all afraid they’ll get beat up in the school yard if they don’t agree with everyone else.


I’m not saying it’s a bad movie – it’s not.  If this is the first you’ve heard of it, Paranormal Activity follows in the footsteps of The Blair Witch Project by being a movie made with a home video camera for around ten grand.  Sure, it looks like it, but then again it’s not trying to be a big budget movie; in fact they work very well within their means and the film has a premise that makes perfect use of the “home movie” scenario.  It’s well made, the actors are good enough and it’s nice to see a scary movie that replies on being creepy rather than blood and guts.


But it’s not the second coming, folks.  In fact the movie essentially has one scary scene (pictured above) which is repeated over and over and over again.  Sure, each time there is a new twist and something a little more bizarre takes place, but the problem is you’re ready for it – you’ve been trained by the film to know exactly when something creepy is going to happen, so when it does – no big surprise.

And then the movie ends.


The ironic thing is that while the studio is trying to get everyone to demand their local theaters run it, it’s actually a movie that would play much better at home on DVD.  I won’t tell you why, but given the nature and plot of the film, it’s perfect to watch in your own house with the lights turned down snuggled up next to someone who’s prone to getting freaked out.

On that level, it’s a gem and well worth seeing.  But actually leaving the house, parking, getting dinner, waiting in line and making a night out of it?

Let’s see, a rental is $4 and I paid $12 for a movie ticket – damn it, somebody owes me eight bucks.

10 Responses to “movie review: paranormal activity (no spoilers)”

  1. 1 Tripper
    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 am

    AGH! It’s the Japanese sh!t monster!

  2. October 30, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Well, you were spot-on with Speed and Trek, so I’m going to make this one a Redbox special.

  3. 3 darthmojo
    October 30, 2009 at 7:17 am

    TRIPPPPPER: He’s called Domo. Too bad he wasn’t really in the movie.

  4. October 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Domo-Kun! This film looks adorable! ;)

  5. 5 mrchezem
    October 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    You are dead on. This movie was a major snore. I jumped once and that was during the last scene of the film. The rest of the movie was boring and repetitive. Every time they went back to daytime scenes I reached for my phone and started surfing the internet. This would have been much more successful as a short film. The only thing that impressed me is how cheap this was made considering the creativity of some of the effects. Incidentally, do you know if any of the effects got an upgrade for the wide release? Some of the stuff (like the footprints) was pretty clever. I couldn’t figure out how they would do that as a practical effect.

  6. 6 The Lobby Lurker
    November 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Yeah- I caught this early on- recommended by a friend who is a major fan of the horror genre. It had its moments, but overall it was halfway to Meh. Ever since the Where Bitch Project broke the mold for cheap filmmaking and big B.O., the “brains” at the studios have been trying to figure out how to recapture that lightning or genie or whatever you’d like to call it (crap, perhaps?) and make another one. This is certainly a better film to watch at home, very late at night; with friends, loved ones, or alone; and after consuming sufficient quantities of alcohol, Red Vines, or other drug of your choice for the desired effect.

    Domo is da man! He would have made the film MUCH more enjoyable, no doubt.

  7. 7 Ralf
    November 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    “Every time they went back to daytime scenes I reached for my phone and started surfing the internet.”

    how very considerate of you.

  8. 8 cool gurl
    January 3, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I would have to disagree with the bored part. I was scared to death. It felt like it was the real life event. You know it was exectly like any ordinary couple going through an extreme severe paranoraml exsperience. Im sure i get scared sourt of easy but this topped it off. This no doubt about it was my favorite scary movie.

  9. March 17, 2010 at 2:38 am

    I can’t believe people fell for this kind of shitty ‘horror’ movie yet again! What was in this that was so amazing to watch?

  10. 10 keremgogus
    May 3, 2012 at 9:40 am

    LOL Awesome review! :D

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October 2009

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