Paranormal Activity (2007)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Paranormal Activity</strong> (2007)

(In theatres, October 2009) Here’s a new rule in reviewing horror movies: Do it the next morning. Because it’s in Paranormal Activity‘s nature to lodge itself in its viewers’ brains in a tightly coiled memory loop that only unfurls once they’re defenceless in bed and exposed in the dark. During the film itself, Paranormal Activity isn’t much to look at: shot in seven days with a handful of actors and a budget of $15,000 dollars, it brings back memories of The Blair Witch Project (already celebrating its tenth year!) and a growing number of amateur HD films. But there’s nothing amateur in the way Oren Peli’s movie slowly cranks up the uncanny nature of is supernatural intrusions: From sounds to shadows to even more disturbing signs, Paranormal Activity tighten the screws so gradually that by the time the film hits its final chilling seconds, it’s easy to be completely engrossed in what’s happening. The two lead actors are believable, and the film milks a surprising amount of plotting from what is essentially a two-players piece. There are no jumps as much as there are chills, and the restrained number of disturbing images only makes them more effective. After seeing the horror genre sinking deeper into gross carnography during the past few years, it’s a refreshing to see a horror film go back to the stripped-down basics and become even more effective thanks to its lack of polish. Unlike a number of cheap horror movies making to theatres on extended word-of-mouth, Paranormal Activity actually deserves some of the hype. At least, if one considers how quickly and repeatedly it comes back to mind when trying to go to sleep…

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