Following in the ghoulish footsteps of 'found footage' classics The Blair Witch Project and Rec, Paranormal Activity is the latest low-budget ultra scare-fest to wow Hollywood! Made for just $15,000 in director Oren Peli's very own home, this unique indie cross between The Exorcist and Poltergeist has left cinema audiences in a perpetual state of terror.
Filmed in a documentary style, Paranormal Activity follows day-trader Micah and college student Katie, a young couple "Engaged to be engaged." Played by unknowns Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston, the leads are wholly sympathetic and normal characters living out a seemingly mundane suburban existence, which is part of the movie's genius - many of us could be them, minus the paranormal activity! When Micah takes it upon himself to film Katie's claims that she has been haunted since childhood, audiences will likely be just as sceptical as he is, but not for long... Sleep is going to be a problem.
Not beyond some good old-fashioned scares - strange noises and things that go bump in the night - the film takes all the classics and the cliches of the genre, but roots them in a reality that audiences can relate to - nearly everyone has seen or experienced something unexplainable on some level. But what do you do when the unexplainable keeps on happening and it's damn scary?
You really will feel like you're watching genuine hauntings of these poor unfortunate souls, but - as with all great horror movies - it's what you don't see that really sets the imagination racing. That such terror was achieved on a micro budget is a testament to the filmmaker - few like-minded films have been as successful, Blair Witch being one exception.
For optimum frights, we recommend you leave the lights off if you can bear it. Whatever you do, make sure you order in some new underwear because you're going to need them, and if DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg have anything to do with it you might have to buy a few pairs because sequels are likely on the way.