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Movie Review: Paranormal Activity (English) 103

This was supposed to be a movie that scared many in the Western world. If you have seen those advertisements, you can’t miss the audience yelling in theatres. But for all its hype as a realistic scary movie, honestly I wasn’t scared one bit watching this one. The likes of “Ring” or “Grudge” and their sequels were far scarier actually.

The story is about a young couple Micah (Micah Sloat) and Katie (Katie Featherson) who seem to be experiencing the paranormal in their house. Strange footsteps, banging on doors, faucets and lights going on and off doors opening and closing by themselves compel Micah to capture it on camera to better understand the events.

What is worth appreciating is that it has entirely been shot on Handy-cam on a shoe-string budget of USD 15,000. Having already become a successful, the ROI figures would have just gone tizzy. As long as you don’t mind the shaky & grainy pictures and unedited sound buzz and that you only see 6 human faces throughout its near 90 minute runtime, it oozes of creativity and confidence and it scared people too!

So, what makes Paranormal Activity work? It’s the thought of just two people living all alone in a luxuriously huge American house. People can relate to Micah and Katie who are not stars but just commoners; the idea is to make audience feel “hey, it could’ve been us”. Then comes the western obsession with exorcism, ouija boards and yeah ‘demonologists’ to solve their problems despite their tech advances!

I was told that this was to be boring in the beginning with scariness picking up slowly as the story progresses. But, barring those odd scenes of doors moving and strange sounds punctuating it, you wait endlessly for something concrete. When something really happens towards the end, you’re done with your endurance. I saw two of its 3 alternate endings, which were at best unsetting, but not unexpected.

There is however no worthwhile explanation offered for the phenomena happening there and you have to be content with the abrupt ending leaving you tad cheated. And No, it’s not a real story; but, director Oran Peli has definitely made a wonderful effort at keeping it realistic. Ah yes, you have to give it to the director for casting the duo who have such great chemistry. And what more, Sloat doubles up as cameraman too!

If this movie doesn’t work in India, I won’t really be surprised. In countries like ours, the sheer number of people living in a neighborhood can scare ghosts away! But, if you’re looking for a break from the lame Bollywood fare of this week, try this flick. But yeah, if are a tad weak hearted for horror or sleep alone at home, better beware!

Rating 5/10: Commendable effort & realistic feel; nothing too scary!
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