A phenomenon in the making, Paranormal Activity is the absurdly low budget suspense flick that’s currently taking in over $26,000 per screen.
Like The Blair Witch Project, it’s presented as a real story with actual people in horrifying situations involving a movie within a movie. Also like The Blair Witch Project, it proves that quiet chills and thrills can make scads of money and scare the living daylights out of people making overblown, overbudget trash.
But I just paid to see the movie–Paramount doesn’t have me on their list, frighteningly enough–and I have to say it was largely tedious, except for a handful of big-time shocks towards the end. Maybe I’m just jaded, but the succession of short scenes showing the couple looking scared was largely claustrophobic and boring to me!
You keep wondering, “Why doesn’t she strap herself to the bed and sleep with the lights on?”
Still, I admire anyone who gets an audience reaction like this without the Grand Guignol blood and sadism efffects that fill most current thrillers. As Hitchcock knew, the power of suggestion is way scarier than giant meathoooks and torture devices any day!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 20, 2009