Paranormal is the 2007 found footage movie that built the House of Blum (Blumhouse) and spawned an entire franchise with a ridiculous number of sequels. The series has become something of a pop culture punching bag at this point, but we decided to take a look at the original in isolation. Scroll down to check out the review of the film, but be warned, spoilers abound.
Reviewed by: Jack
Paranormal Activity has a relatively simple plot. Katie and Micah live together in their suburban California home. Micah is a day trader, and Katie is a student. Micah gets some new cameras to play with, but when things go bump in the night, he turns his attention to recording the happenings.
As the paranormal activity (see what I did there?) begins to escalate, we learn that Katie was haunted as a child, likely by a demon. The demon continues to fuck with them and up the stakes until it finally possesses Katie who murders Micah.
Now here things get a little be complicated because there are a few different endings. The original, and in my estimation, best, ending shows Katie standing and swaying by the bed for days until the police finally show up and shoot her. In the theatrical ending, Katie lunges at the camera, jump-scare-style, and runs away to preserve the ability for a sequel.
What the Movie Does Right
Immersion. This movie draws you right in, maintains a relatively believable reason for them to be filming everything, and then delivers in a big way. The characters are, for the most part, believable and well-acted. It all coalesces into a delicious soup of being fully primed for the escalating scares. And scares they are. The fear from this movie stuck with me for some time after my first viewing, which isn’t something you can say for a lot of movies.
What the Movie Does Wrong
Not a whole lot, honestly. There’s some instances where the characters make questionable decisions and the delivery of their lines isn’t totally believable, but those are relatively minor. There’s also some minor continuity issues with the found-footageness, and, on the whole, I don’t love the demonologist guy they bring in to deliver exposition, but again, small issues.
Story: 4 - Like I said above, this movie doesn’t really lean on its story, and it doesn’t really need to.
World-Building / Immersion: 9 - Apart from a couple of minor things that make you remember you’re watching a movie, this thing will suck you right the hell in.
Scare-Factor: 8 - This movie is fucking scary. If you go into this thing with an open mind, you will be terrified.
Effects (or Judicious Lack Thereof): 7 - This is kind of the epitome of a “judicious lack of effects” movie. They didn’t have a big budget for effects, and they were cognizant of that fact found a way to work around it.
Overall: 8 - Watch this movie. Don’t buy into the hatred of this thing and just jump on the bandwagon. If you’re lucky enough to watch this for the first time, go in with an open heart.