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Paranormal Activity

The marketing campaign behind this movie was genius.  It wasn’t as smart as the viral “true” story that was launched months beforehand for “The Blair Witch Project” but this was all about word-of-mouth.  They released this only in big college towns first hoping to get word on the Internet to spread like wildfire.  Then once interest was peaked they would only release it in your city if you went online and demanded it.  Luckily Sacramento was one of those cities and we got it…at one theater…that only had one showing…at midnight!  Smart!  The plot is simple: a couple buys a camera in hopes to capture some ghostly goings-on that the girlfriend has been claiming.  To know anymore about this story might water it down.  The cast consists of the couple, who are newcomers named Michah Sloat and Katie Featherston.  There’s a physic and a best friend that appear in the movie twice but only briefly.  Even though the movie is a first-person shot of a handheld camera, it won’t make you motion sick like “Cloverfield” and “Quarantine” did for some.  It’s important to note that this entire movie was made for only $11,000!  You heard me right!  That’s so impressive since and a bigger budget would’ve only made the movie worse.  The director, another newcomer Oren Peli, basically sets up a house (the entire movie takes place in one house) full of cheap parlor tricks to scare us and his actors.  There are many times during the movie where the unafraid and manly Michah yells out “Shhhhh” to his girlfriend while they’re frightened.  He’s not really yelling that at her, he’s yelling that at the audience.  Some of the more terrifying things that happen are so slight and subtle that you’ll miss them because you’re still screaming from what just happened.  But don’t think this is your typical scary movie.  This movie gives a new definition to “creepy.”  It never once frightens you into jumping because that’s too easy to do.  “Paranormal Activity” is just a collection of scenes filled with tension-mounting sounds and sights that make the goosebumps appear and you have to look away because you’ve been creeped out too much!  My only complaint with it is that when the final 5 over-boiled minutes of the film happen, the climax is absolutely terrifying, more could’ve been done with it.  That being said I am writing this review at 2:30 AM.  We got back from the movie and I was too scared to go to bed.  Be warned that what the movie “Psycho” did for taking showers, “Paranormal Activity” has done to simply falling asleep in a bed!  The feeling of being trapped in this house with this couple is conveyed perfectly.  When either of the other two cast members appear you feel perfectly safe but when they leave you feel like they abandon you and are responsible for the frights to continue!  Every time night falls and the couple attempts to go to sleep, the audience (totally sold out show) groaned with fear of what they knew was coming and when it does, even being surrounded by 600 people in a big-ass theater wasn’t enough to make us all feel like we were alone in that room with them.
Paranormal Activity (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: A


#1 Toni Tateish on 10.05.09 at 11:22 am

Hi Gavin, I was listening in this morning about this movie, and I didn’t hear where it was playing. I love scary movies also, and get pretty freaked out after. So much that, yes, I do sleep with the lights on or I just watch another movie. Most likely a comedy. Something to take my mind off of the scary moments. When I was a kid I used to pay my brother to turn off my lights at night due to the scary movies. Please don’t forget to tell me where to see this movie. Thanks so much, Toni

#2 gavin on 10.05.09 at 4:20 pm

This is playing at Century 14 on Ethan by the Arden Mall. I think it’s gonna open in all theaters this weekend. Not sure when you’ll read this but if you do it by tomorrow (Tuesday) you can win free tickets to see it this weekend by texting “Movies” to 73389. Good luck and thanks for listening!

#3 Jessica on 10.05.09 at 5:59 pm

Hey Gavin Kelly and Jason. I Love the wake up call. I listened about the scary movie thing, I’m 14, and have never been scared of any movies. I’ve seen it all. Exorcist and everything, but its perfectly normal to be scared of horror movies so don’t feel bad. I know you wanted to talk to adults who don’t get scared by these kinds of movies, but I decided to let you know. Keep being awesome! LOVE YOU GUYS!~Jessica-chico