directed by Oren Peli
I have mad respect for a film that can scare me the old fashioned way, by actually effing scaring me. And while the individual scenes in Oren Peli’s awesome Paranormal Activity may not be as terrifying as, say, The Descent (Neil Marshall’s indispensable horror classic), the film is so strong because it works as a cumulative scare, building tension and creating suspense that still has me wide eyed all the way to its crescendo, even when I watch it at my house. The acting is credible (though I still take issue with Katie’s tame reaction when she sees that photo), and the tension is realistically taught. And now for the inevitable Blair Witch Project comparison, which I need to say, for the record, is absolutely not an insult, for I thought that The Blair Witch Project was a breath of fresh air for the horror genre and a style that has been oft copied but never truly realized. Obviously, the style of the two films is similar in the sense that it is a faux documentary style that seeks to add a level of realism to the terror, but where The Blair Witch Project directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez acted flaky in order to build a mystique about their film, PA floated around the film festival circuit (with no secret about it being fictional) for some time before finally getting the distribution funds it justly deserved. Myrick and Sanchez also had the pleasure of being the architects of something new, innovating something we hadn’t seen before. For those of you who spent the last year in a cabin typewriting manifestos to the government, PA is a film about a young couple who investigate the strange occurrences in their home by placing cameras in the house and setting up sound recording equipment to capture the goings on. I said it about The Blair Witch Project and I will say it again about Peli’s masterwork: A horror film that can still keep your eyes glued to the screen and feeling so deliciously uneasy is onto something pretty excellent, especially when that film rocks zero gore, no psychos, no crazy ways for the characters to die and no visible villains. I just hope that PA 2 isn’t a total blight, like The Blair Witch Project 2 (ugh, what trash).