Paranormal Activity, made with a budget of $15,000 is one the most profitable independent movies of all time clocking up an almighty $100 million in the US and Canada and it’s easy to see why. With screenings at festivals during 2007 and 2008 and a limited release in the US in October 2009, Paranormal Activity captured the public’s imagination.
The demand and buzz for this film finally earned a well deserved general release, so much so The Asylum produced their own ‘mockbuster’ version called Paranormal Entity. Simple but superb direction by Oren Peli in his feature film directorial debut and strong performances by the leads Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat; Paranormal Activity is one of those examples of how great Hollywood can be when they get it right. Despite the influences that are apparent for all to see; The Exorcist, The Blair Witch Project and to a certain extent The Amityville Horror, this somehow does not stop Paranormal Activity feeling fresh and original.
Rumour has it this film gave Steven Spielberg the heebie jeebies and this comes as no surprise. Paranormal Activity’s style attempts to reflect realism by building up atmosphere, tension; playing and preying on the psychological aspects rather than the gore-fuelled blood and guts that has become tiresome and boring. There are many occasions in Paranormal Activity where nothing happens. So many long periods of nothingness, but being a horror movie it is these factors that heightens the tension, anticipating that something is about to happen. Paranormal Activity is an excellent example of what you do not see being a hell of a lot more frightening and than what is seen.
Silver Screams continues with Leon Nicholson taking a look at Paranormal Activity written, edited and directed by Oren Peli.