The Mixed Tape

Paranormal Activity. by matthewgoodnght


My love for horror and horror classics has forced me to adapt and find the little gems hidden beneath all the excessive, flashy “horror” films that Hollywood pushes out. One of the first gems that I found was [Rec], the original and far-better version of Quarantine, my most discovery by word of mouth was Paranormal Activity, a film made in 2007 on a $15,000 budget. It’s slow growth has gone from small film festivals to being backed by Paramount Pictures, releasing the film in cities based on demand.

A good friend and I snagged a pair of tickets for a 12:20am showing of Paranormal Activity at Arclight Theatres in Hollywood, CA. We were blown away.

The film takes on the “found footage” style of storytelling, pioneered by The Blair Witch Project, and follows a couple in San Diego who feel they are being tormented by something or some presence in the night. Upon the purchase of a camera, they decide to film themselves at night to prove their theories. The account of the 20+ days the couple were dealing with this is some of the most horrifying 95 minutes I have ever experienced. The no-name actors deliver convincing performances that make the audience able to relate to the tension in their relationship, their fear, and their shortcomings.

What makes this so scary? A question I have been asked so many times, yet words cannot depict what makes this film so scary, why? Because there’s no monster to show, no beast to depict, this film exploits Stephen Kings ideals that the scariest monster is one you cannot see. To try to imagine to be scared of something you can not see is, but to experience it will keep you sleeping with the lights on. Paranormal Activity hits this very note and keeps you on the very edge of your seat with your nose tucked under your shirt during those scenes you just know something is about to happen. You have no idea what is going to happen, but when it does, it takes you by surprise every time. Unlike The Blair Witch Project, the scary scenes are evenly sparse throughout, the day-scenes allow character development and support the progressive chaos over the 20+ days.

There’s no “in-your-face” jump scenes, there’s not excessive use of “shaky-cam” techniques, as most of the scenes of terror take place while the camera is sitting on a tri-pod. One Rotten Tomatoes reviewer brings up the idea in his review for the film that “[p]lacing a camera on a tripod suddenly seems revolutionary”. Paranormal Activity not only breaks the rules of mockumentary-style horror film with tripods, but also rises above the cheap scares and stereotypes of Hollywood funded horror films, and it truely shows you how to frighten without the use of any blood, CG or foam latex, yet special effects are not absent at all. What director, Oren Peli, was able to accomplish with $15,000, is filmmaking in its purest.

-Matthew Perdue

Photo Source:


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I think what scared me most (spoiler) was feeling of hopelessness throughout. It really makes you feel as if the characters are done for and a lot of that came from the incredible acting. I really felt like they were real people dealing with a real, disturbing event. Some of the images are gonna haunt me for a long time.

Comment by tylercoenrrea

this movie at tha End Was Freackin SCARY!! iwas hiding behind by sister when that part came up

Comment by April

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: