Paranormal Activity, written and directed by Oren Peli, is a film about a young couple who move into a suburban home only to find they are the target of spooky goings on. In an attempt to get proof of these strange happenings they set up a video recorder and record while they sleep. What they discover will not only terrify them but change their lives forever.
This film is shot on a hand held camera; personally I don’t like this effect, not just in this film but the Blair Witch Project and Colverfield also used this method and it began to get on my nerves as the film went on. In the Blair Witch and Cloverfield there was a lot of running and action so the screen was very blurred and unfocused. This film however was not so bad. The paranormal events mostly took place at night, when the camera was on a stand and stationary. This was good because it enabled me to really allow the haunting and eerie atmosphere that Oren Peli created to take its desired effect. So I have made an exception to not liking this method due to the way they had the camera stationary when the events took place and active during the day.
As this film was about a young couple’s paranormal experiences there were very few other people in the film. The only other characters to feature were a friend of the couple and a psychic. Having a small cast such as this comes with its advantages in the way that we got to focus solely on these two people, we got to see how they acted around each other, what their personalities were like and how well they got on as a couple. As the film progressed and the paranormal events began to take its toll on the couple we were able to identify what kind of impact it was having on each of them and how heavy a strain it put on their relationship. The only disadvantage of having such a small cast would be variety. The director/writer would have to ensure the characters were 3-dimetional and interesting enough to capture the interest of the audience without seeming false and unrealistic. But I have to say Oren found a nice balance in this film, the characters were funny, seemed to really gel as a couple and have very different personalities, good job.
All in all I found this film to be a good watch, spooky at the right times with a little dry humour mixed in. I really felt like I knew this couple and grew to even like them, the way they bounced off each other and stood by each other even when the things they were experiencing had no logical explanation. But the best thing about this film was the fact you didn’t see what was causing these events, and not having an image or an idea of what this thing was made it all the more sinister and frightening. This film goes to prove, we are always afraid of what we don’t understand. Good stuff.