Paranormal Activity Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video 8.5
Audio 7.5
Special Features 6.5
Total 8.0

Distributor: Icon
Running Time: Minutes
Reviewer: Simon Black
Classification
: MA15+

8.0


Paranormal Activity
 

Micah (Micah Sloat) and Katie (Katie Featherston) are a young suburban couple with a supposedly idyllic life.  Except for one glaring fact; Katie is convinced a supernatural presence is haunting their home.  To this end the pair consult with a psychic named Dr Friedrichs, who promptly declares the house inhabited by an extremely malevolent entity he’ll have nothing to do with, and set up a video camera in hopes of capturing footage of the evil sprite at work.  Needless to say their plan succeeds.  

Paranormal Activity purports to detail the harrowing occurrences caught on the couple’s video camera.  While it’s debatable whether the result constitutes ‘the scariest movie of all time’ and the ‘found footage’ angle is a largely unnecessary contrivance, the film certainly has more than a few edge-of-your-seat moments.  The supernatural phenomena are sparingly and effectively rendered, making them all the more frightening, and some of the most chilling scenes simply involve a seemingly possessed Katie standing motionless for hours by the side of the bed. 

Filmed in the director’s own house to save on location costs and with dialogue being almost entirely improvised by its two leads, Paranormal Activity remains a marvel of filmmaking on a shoestring.  Famously shot on a budget of some $15,000 and having grossed over $100 million worldwide, it is now one of the most profitable films of all time.  The story of its inception is also fascinatingly unorthodox.  Its two leads, who were initially paid the princely sum of $500 apiece, learned auditions were being held when browsing Craigslist and first time filmmaker Oren Peli was reportedly moved to make a film about the paranormal partly to conquer his lifelong fear of ghosts.  Considering this is the first outing for all involved the performances are remarkably believable, and the two adroit young leads interact like old pros, drawing the viewer into their world and making the scary scenes all the more effective for their realism. 

The Blu-ray release features both the theatrical and alternate versions of the film, with the alternate cut containing a different, arguably creepier ending than that shown in cinemas.  The audio commentary by the Israeli-born Peli provides an interesting and insightful look into the art of cost-effective movie making, and the BD transfer is also excellent considering the largely handheld nature of the footage.  Paranormal Activity is an audacious and enjoyable horror film that relies on cleverly-contrived atmosphere rather than mindless gore, and might just prove itself this generation’s The Exorcist






 
 



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