LAT REVIEW: ‘Paranormal Activity’ would make Hitchcock smile

Oct. 02, 2009 | 9:06 p.m.

Steven Spielberg reportedly got so freaked out by some strange occurences that he associated with his DVD advance copy of “Paranormal Activity” that he carried the disc out of his home in a garbage bag like some toxic artifact. Nice. Turns out Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey was also a bit wigged out by the new horror film. Here’s an excerpt from her review, with links added by me… — Geoff Boucher

Paranormal Activity


Just for the record, the time to tell your significant other that an evil force has been stalking you since you were 8 is long before you’re engaged and have moved in together.

I’m not suggesting the whole demon/ghost/unidentified whatever is a deal breaker, but it should at least get a mention.

Consider the case of Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat), the young couple at the terrifying center of “Paranormal Activity.” By the time Katie tells Micah about her “problem” and by the time Micah takes it seriously, that “thing that goes bump in the night” has really built up a head of steam.

Before the lights go back up, and at some point you may wonder if they ever will, there will be a very tight coil of anxiety buried deep in your gut that is very hard to get rid of. I say that even though there’s no hard research yet. But it is 3 a.m. as I’m writing this and what with all the lights, I’m guessing the local electrical grid is recording a spike.

The man to curse for all this darkness is writer-director Oren Peli, who has created a psychological thriller of such small scale and yet such heightened impact that no doubt Hitchcock, wherever he may be, is smiling. Though the story does not have the complexity of the master, the first-time director understands that it’s what you don’t see, and the way in which you don’t see it, that counts.

We’re dropped into Katie and Micah’s lives just as Micah is setting up a DIY surveillance system so that he can record any suspicious activity in the house. As he begins shooting footage and talking to Katie we realize that he’s merely going to elaborate lengths to prove that she is just imagining things…


— Betsy Sharkey



Is “Paranormal Activity” on track for a “Balir Witch” style success?

A decade later: What is the legacy of ‘Blair Witch’?

How “Paranormal Activity” beat the Hollywood odds (and spooked Spielberg)

Guest blog: Jaime King hits bottom on the set of ‘Mother’s Day’

Maggots, vomit and mud: Sam Raimi dragged his new star through hell

‘Exorcist’ director William Friedkin lists the 13 scariest movies ever

Wes Craven on the ‘inheritance of violence’

Undead and unasleep: Rob Zombie’s long nights

CREDITS: “Paranormal Activity” image from Paramount Pictures, “Blair Witch” from Artisan Entertainment.


11 Responses to LAT REVIEW: ‘Paranormal Activity’ would make Hitchcock smile

  1. biso says:

    i hope this will shown in the Philippines coz it will be big hit here

  2. Nataly says:

    I didnt have a clue what this movie was until my date surprised me with a vist to the one time New York viewing. Wow is all I can say. It was way scarier not to see what you really wouldnt want to see. I wouldnt be shocked if the acters couldnt sleep for day. I wish it would be officially released no director could ever top that!

  3. ramon renteria says:

    i was seriously scared, by far this movie is the scariest movie ever made. dont watch it alone. i seen this movie in DENVER, COLORADO

  4. Jeff eggerding says:

    I can relate to this film

  5. Jeff eggerding says:

    I can relate to this film

  6. Aura says:

    Good luck going to sleep! This film will creep you out and make you want to sleep with the lights on. Loved it!!!

  7. susan says:

    I think it is important to think that this movie is thought of; the lost footage found. It was the scariest film that I have ever seen. As long as you don't let the first time watcher think that it just another hollywood movie. Note if you have every really been haunted you know thier is a scary truth to all your fears in this movie. YOUR MUST WATCH THE HOLE MOVIE DON'T LEAVE…….

  8. desi says:

    this movie scared me alot i jumped a lot. i really did not know what this movie was until i read about it and finally seen it and one word SCARY my bother was scared he wanted 2 turn it off right away now i got it on blue-ray dvd

  9. brittany says:

    So this movie was too scarey and should have never been allowed to be published, I'm so scared and I'm never going to come back from this!

  10. yatz says:

    wow is all i can say! i cant relate to this but i know people who can its a scary movie but we have to realize that its reality

  11. dawn says:

    Not impressed though I have been watching horror movies since I was two.

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