Paranormal Activity

I fully expected to emerge from a viewing of “Paranormal Activity” thinking, “Is it really all that scary?” and answering with a decisive, “Well, yes and no.” That’s me: a man of strong opinions.

OK, I’ve seen it, I’ve emerged and I’ve asked the question. And the answer is, “Yes! Are you frackin’ kiddin’ me? Very definitely, yes.”

No matter how lame a horror movie is, there’s always someone in the audience who will emit a few screams, but it’s rare when everyone screams and damn rare indeed when the men are yelling just as loudly as their dates.

The movie begins with a simple “thank you” from Paramount Pictures to the parents of Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat, the two young people who supposedly set up a video camera in their house to record the weird noises and happenings that had begun to haunt their nights. This is the only indication anywhere that the film is being distributed by Paramount, and that Featherston and Sloat are the two lead actors. The movie ends with a notice naming Oren Peli as the copyright holder “” nothing about him being the writer, director, cinematographer, editor, or owner of the home in which the picture was shot.

AREAS OF INTEREST
Whatever it is that is tormenting Katie and Micah has been dropping in on Katie periodically since she was 8. Now it’s shaking the pair with heavy footsteps and scratching sounds, and moving small items when no one is looking. Micah buys a camera so he can set it up at night and film the two of them sleeping. When we watch this footage, the screen is divided into three areas of interest: on our right is the bed, on the left is the bedroom’s open doorway, and in the middle is the nightstand next to Katie.

We see the time indicator at the bottom right. This allows us to tell if the video is being fast-forwarded or how long a shot is being held. We don’t know what is about to happen, and we don’t know in which area of the screen the creepy thing will take place, so we just sit there with our eyes darting around the room, anticipating the worst.

And when it comes, it may just be a slowly closing door, but it still makes you squirm. If, instead, it’s something invisible slipping under the covers to snuggle with Katie, you may levitate a few inches out of your seat.

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