The directorial debut of Israeli immigrant Oren Peli, “Paranormal Activity” targets the most gullible of audience members.
In the spirit of Halloween, people have flocked to get their horror fix from the indie flick and “Saw VI.” And like the phenomenon of 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project,” people are fascinated by the possibility of paranormal happenings and frightened by the things that happen to the unsuspecting victims of haunting, poltergeists and twisted serial killers.
“Paranormal Activity” chronicles the strange events occurring in the home of Katie and Micah in San Diego during the fall of 2006. The couple believe they’re being disturbed by a force following Katie, so much so that they decide to videotape their every move in an attempt to capture the action.
The video is cut to look real, so there is a bit of camera shakiness. But overall the look of the film is quite good. There is a good amount of night vision filming — not the green kind but rather a grayscale style. It is these night vision style scenes where the “scary” moments of the film happen.
There are several scenes where Katie unexpectedly sleepwalks or stands over Micah while possessed by some unnatural force, and during the scene where unexplained footsteps in baby powder appear on the floor, most of the audience seemed to be genuinely scared.
Although some of these moments are creepy, especially if you are convinced they are real, the film is mostly comical.
The couple argues about the use of the video camera and other relationship problems throughout the film, and it is these scenes that provide the skeptical in the audience with comic relief.
I will admit that the movie successfully convinced a lot of the audience that the footage they were seeing was real, providing the audience with a fantastic suspension of reality, which is the ultimate goal for any movie. But overall the film does not live up to its hype.
Movie reviewer Laura James can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.