Paranormal Activity

HORROR; 1hr 27min

STARRING: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat

Fear factor: Featherston and Sloat

Now and then, a Blair Witch-y movie will grab mass audiences big time. Paranormal Activity is the latest little money-spinner that could and has: shot for $11,000 in the San Diego home of its writer-director, Oren Peli, it has scared cinema-goers silly to the sweet tune of $100 million-plus and counting.


The docudrama set-up is devilishly simple: concerned about a possible haunting, Katie and Micah (Featherston and Sloat) set up a video camera in their bedroom to record what happens while they sleep. There is minimal demon action and too much of Micah’s wibble-wobble horsing around for the first couple of weeks. But when the homey little joint does start jumping, Katie, who has experienced spirit visitors before and appears to be the focus of this one, is justifiably freaked while Micah foolishly believes he is in control.


The power implicit here lies in the same rough-and-ready quality that makes this hard to watch: in their mounting confusion and fear, Katie and Micah are potentially every one of us. By resisting any streamlining or hyperbole, Peli unleashes our collective imagination — and then gets busy unleashing hell.