A Fright at the Movies to Remember

Paranormal Activity (film)
Image via Wikipedia

By Rob Minor
Staff Writer

Are you frightened of ghosts?  Do they really exist?  After watching Paranormal Activity your thoughts may quickly change.  The movie Paranormal Activity, written, directed, and produced by Oren Peli, is a “mocumentary” of found footage that focuses on young couple Micah and Katie, who are living together in their San Diego, California home.  After Katie, who believes she has been the focus of ghostly occurrences in her past, starts to feel frightened by new paranormal experiences happening to her, her boyfriend Micah purchases recording equipment in hopes of either proving or disproving that there are supernatural events occurring in their home.

From the start the film is slow to evolve, however the action begins to pick up about halfway through the movie.  Horrifying events will keep audience members on the edge of their seats, fearing what will happen next.  All while these events are taking place, Micah tries to comfort his girlfriend and handle the situation on his own.  Only by viewing the film for one’s self will he or she find out if Micah was successful in protecting his girlfriend from the horrors within their home.

The film originally formed a following at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2008.  After gaining attention from Steven Spielberg, Paramount and DreamWorks got a hold of the film and turned it into what is the current version.  The current version of the film was created with help from producer Jason Blum and director Oren Peli.  With production costs estimated at only $15,000, the film has already grossed more than $100,000,000.  With an inexpensive marketing strategy that encompassed social media, Paramount and DreamWorks have come out ahead of the game with this film.

Speculation has occurred regarding whether or not this movie was based on a true story.  Had it been based on actual events, the movie would have seemed much more terrifying.  Just as “The Blair Witch Project” generated a large following for viewers who believed the story was real, so has “Paranormal Activity.”  Unfortunately, viewers are left feeling slighted after realizing that this story is just a figment of the writer’s imagination.

Oren Peli first came up with the idea for his film when he and his girlfriend purchased their first home.  Just as any new homeowners must become used to the unfamiliar noises their home makes, so did Peli.  It was while contemplating these arbitrary noises that Peli developed the first visions for his film.  “I don’t think it was anything supernatural,” says Peli.  “A lot of it was natural stuff like the house settling, but that’s what got me thinking: what goes on while you’re asleep?  I always loved movies.  I loved to watch them.  Movies like ‘The Blair Witch Project’ showed me if you get a video camera, with a very small budget, you could make something happen.”  And that Peli did.

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