After experiencing what they think are a series of "break-ins", a family sets up security cameras around their home, only to realize that the events unfolding before them are more sinister than they seem.
After a young, middle class couple moves into a suburban 'starter' tract house, they become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be somehow demonic but is certainly most active in the middle of the night. Especially when they sleep. Or try to.Written by
The role of Dr. Johann Averies was cast with a real Paranormal Investigator from the Independent Investigations Group, Spencer Marks. The role was shot to help explain certain anomalies in the film. The role was predominantly mentioned in the movie, but the footage never used. See more »
(at around 18 mins) Towards the beginning of the movie, when Micah and Katie are talking with the psychologist, there is a hard cut from the doctor to Katie as the doctor is talking, but the dialogue does not skip. Since the movie is supposed to be entirely self-filmed footage, this would imply that either there were two cameras filming at once, or that they did a second "take" with the doctor, both of which are unlikely. See more »
Is that what I think it is?
Depends on what you think it is.
I think it's a big-ass camera! Whatever happened to one of those little hand held cameras?
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The theatrical release of the film had no closing credits. After the final scene, a title card offered the 'fate' of Katie and Micah, then there was a brief showing of copyright and other protections, and the screen went black for a few seconds before the standard 'blue screen' showing the movie's rating appeared. See more »
The version that was released in theaters is the cut supervised by Steven Spielberg. The Director's Cut, comprised of the unedited film with three possible endings, has several differences:
1. There is a scene in the Theatrical Cut not present in the Director's Cut that takes place early on, where Katie and Micah wake up and find her keys thrown from the kitchen counter to the floor.
2. The low frequency tone that occurs when the demon is present is not quite as loud in the Director's cut. There is only one instance of the demon whispering in the Theatrical Cut; there are at least three in the Director's Cut, all of which are heard in the bedroom at night.
3. A lot of the demon noises - the loud growl followed by the bang, the footsteps, even the shadows that appear on the bedroom doors - were completely re-dubbed and retouched. All of these scenes are much, much louder/noticeable in theaters for jump scares. There seem to be at least two added "shadow" effects - another on the bedroom door, and a silhouette in the hallway - in the Director's Cut, whereas the Theatrical Cut only has one shadow used.
4. The night when the demon plays the door games with Katie and Micah (opening and slamming it shut, knocking furiously) has been re-dubbed, as well. The knocking is much faster and louder in the Theatrical Cut.
5. There's some added dialogue between Katie and Micah where they discuss how the stress is negatively affecting their lives. She says she's failing her university course and won't pass unless she "does something drastic" on her midterm. He says he lost a large sum of money playing the stock market earlier, and that he'll be taking a break for awhile.
6. The demon's daytime attack is completely absent. The only time we get a good look at the picture that is smashed and clawed is when the two run up and down the hallway during the night to get away from the demon.
7. There's an extra video attached to the "Goodbye Dianne" explanation at the computer. There is at least two minutes of added footage of the woman's ordeal, which has been heavily used in the TV commercials. Micah shows Katie footage of Dianne's demonic possession and subsequent exorcism as she is tied to a bed. Her appearance transforms from healthy to disheveled and dark, with large cuts on her face and body. Eventually, the footage shows that the exorcism was unsuccessful, and the possessed Dianne becomes so destructive that she chews her own arm off to the elbow.
8. The double-layered voice Katie projects in bed when she says, "Everything will be fine from now on" (and later screaming downstairs) uses a different effect to achieve this. Unlike the Theatrical Cut, the two voices are very distinct.
9. The ending is completely changed. Katie awakes shortly after midnight on the final night, gets out of bed and stares at Micah for roughly three hours. Unlike the Theatrical Cut, she does not move to his side of the bed to continue watching him, and the sheets do not fly off of his body. Instead, she goes straight downstairs. After Micah is awakened by the scream, he runs downstairs and we hear the ensuing scuffle. Like before, Katie slowly climbs the stairs, except the footstep effect is slightly altered and when she enters the room, she is holding a knife and covered in blood. Micah's body is not thrown at the camera; he remains downstairs. Katie sits down on the floor against the bed and proceeds to rock back and forth, knife in hand, for several days. We hear her ignore phone calls and the door bell. Eventually, one of her friends comes in to check on her and finds Micah's body, which momentarily interrupts Katie's rocking. The friend lets out a scream and runs out of the house. Twenty minutes later, we hear the police knock and enter, warning anyone in the house to "make themselves known" because they have their weapons drawn. As they search the first floor, it appears as if the demon has left Katie's body: we see the light to the attic turn on, then off, as if the demon went back into hiding. The police come upstairs, find Katie and warn her to drop the weapon. She's dazed, running toward them yelling, "Where's Micah!? Where's Micah?!". The door to the attic slams shut, startling the police so much that one accidentally shoots Katie dead. The final sixty seconds of the film shows the confused policemen, asking "Where did that [noise] come from?" and ultimately declaring the house "clear". The film fades to black, and a text appears that dedicates the film to Katie and Micah.
Paranormal Activity is a creepy horror thriller with just the right amount of suspense from writer/director Oren Peli whose admirable in making this movie that doesn't rely on cheap scares and CGI effects to entertain the audience. I actually preferred this one over the Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield because for the most part there weren't too many shaky camera movements. Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat are effective as the two leads giving believable performances as their characters. The suspense build up was good which doesn't quite pay off but isn't exactly a failure either. The sounds they came up with for the demon or ghost terrorizing the two leads were very effective and well paced throughout the film. It definitely helped add to the creep factor and the special effects are equally impressive for a 15,000 dollar budget. I think the demon or evil entity is seen only twice briefly as a sinister shadow proving that sometimes the things we can't really see can be far more effective than the ones we can. I enjoyed the fact that instead of relying on CGI and cheap thrills writer/director Oren Peli chose to use more practical effects like the sounds of footsteps, growls, a door closing shut, lights going on and off, and loud bangs to scare the audience. I wasn't very scared watching this but it definitely creeps you out. I suggest you go in not knowing too much about the movie otherwise any spoilers might ruin the experience for you. Overall Paranormal Activity was better than I thought it would be and it's worth watching. The ending is a little predictable but the good outweighs the bad. This film might not be up there with The Shining but its certainly no Shutter or The Grudge to name a few that weren't the greatest at least to me. So if you're in the mood for a suspenseful horror thriller than Paranormal Activity is the movie for you.
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