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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Paranormal Activity (2007) - Scares in Spurts, Story Lags

Rating: ★★½☆☆ (2.5/5 Stars)

Released 10-14-2007

Watched 05-25-2024

Reviewed 05-29-2024

Watched on MAX



"Well, basically it could be two things: it could be a ghost...or it could be a demon."


“Paranormal Activity,” directed by Oren Peli, is a low-budget horror film that garnered significant attention for its realistic portrayal of supernatural occurrences in a suburban home. While the film’s found-footage style and minimalist approach to horror create an initially chilling atmosphere, the overall experience falls short of its promise.


The movie follows Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat), a young couple who move into a new house and soon find themselves haunted by a malevolent entity. As Micah obsessively documents their experiences with a handheld camera, the audience is subjected to a series of eerie night-time recordings that escalate in intensity.


One of the strengths of “Paranormal Activity” lies in its ability to build tension with minimal resources. Using a single camera and the absence of elaborate special effects contribute to a sense of authenticity. The subtle, slow-building scares, such as doors moving on their own and unexplained noises, effectively tap into primal fears and create a sense of unease.


However, the film’s pacing is a significant drawback. The repetitive nature of the nightly recordings can become tedious, and the lack of substantial character development makes it difficult to fully invest in Katie and Micah’s plight. The dialogue between the couple often feels stilted and unnatural, detracting from the immersive experience the film strives to create.


Additionally, the movie's climax, while startling, feels underwhelming, given the build-up. The final scenes are abrupt and leave many questions unanswered, which may leave some viewers feeling unsatisfied. The reliance on jump scares rather than a coherent narrative resolution undermines the film's overall impact.


“Paranormal Activity” delivers a few genuine scares and an innovative approach to the horror genre, but its flaws in pacing, character development, and narrative coherence prevent it from reaching its full potential. For those who enjoy atmospheric horror and can overlook these shortcomings, it may still be worth a watch.

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