Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Icon Film Distribution
Now Showing

Ten years ago, some budding filmmakers and three unknown actors headed into the woods armed with a handycam and a goal: to make a cheap-as horror movie with a high scare factor. Thanks to some canny online marketing, The Blair Witch Project was a box office smash and, at the time, the highest grossing independent film ever.

In 2009, the filmmakers have changed (writer/director Oren Peli) and there are just the two actors (Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat) but while the setting has gone from the woods to the seemingly inane domesticity of an apartment in California, the basic goal and result is similar. Almost.

I remember being genuinely scared watching The Blair Witch Project (I'll admit it, I'm a scaredy cat anyway) but while I was anticipating the big reveal during Paranormal Activity, I can't say I was ever on the edge of my seat nor did my hands ever shield my eyes.

There are some creepy moments in this film, slowly leading to that big reveal, but for the most part we are treated to an ordinary young couple dealing with a slightly greater problem than your average suburban tenants. We are also treated to a lot of sleeping: they must be the only couple with a video camera in their bedroom every night and not making a sex tape!

Made for just $15,000 and grossing over $100 million in the US alone, Paranormal Activity is a hit and no doubt will be here. Is it a great horror film? Perhaps not, but for the most part it delivers what it promises - cheap thrills.

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