‘Paranormal’ offers genuine fear

By Sean Harris ’11

A Man and His MoviesJump scares and buckets of blood: These are things that I have come to except from horror movies.

It would seem that people have forgotten what horror movies should do. They should play on the audience’s fears, leaving them emotionally unsettled.

Along comes the much hyped “Paranormal Activity,” a pseudo-documentary film that will leave audiences afraid to turn off the lights at night.

The film introduces us to Micah (Micah Sloat) and Katie (Katie Featherston), a happy young couple. They have their problems, most notable being the supernatural “thing” that has been haunting Katie since she was a little girl.

Now the “thing” is back and it is worse than ever, and wanting to ease his girlfriend’s fears, Micah decides to set up a camera in their bedroom to tape anything unusual.

What starts as a joke soon turns serious as the couple discovers what has been haunting Katie is much worse than they had previously thought.

It is no surprise that the best parts of “Paranormal Activity” are the nighttime scenes.

The film builds towards these scenes excellently, and there is the sense that something very evil is toying with the couple while they are asleep. This feeling of powerlessness is brought into the movie at times and will likely stay with viewers long after the film ends.

The ending is perfect. The whole movie comes to a creepy climax that brings to mind such movies as “The Exorcist.”

As for the handheld camera, it adds a unique layer to a typical ghost story. This tactic also allowed the film to make a huge profit, as it cost just cost $15,000 to make.

Unfortunately, the film suffers from an incredibly slow build. Most of the movie is spent during the day with Micah and Katie and they are not interesting characters; at times they are just downright stupid.

Also most of the big scares are saved for the ending, while the beginning serves as a foundation.

Horseshoes 3Still, you can still find real scares in the movie and that is an accomplishment in itself.

3 out of 5 Horseshoes