Oren Peli is a marketing genius, first of all. The writer/director of Paranormal Activity has implemented several guerilla marketing tactics such as using night vision cameras to record audience reactions for his trailers. Paramount added to the hype by having would-be fans “demand” the movie be screened at their local theater. The movie wrapped 3 years ago but only recently became widely released. The film showed at the 2009 Slamdance Film Festival and audience members were so disturbed that they couldn’t stay for the director’s q&a, scheduled to follow the screening.
The only other movie that I have ever gone into already afraid during the coming attractions was 2008’s The Strangers. At first, the Blair Witch-esque camera shots were enough to make me vomit but that went away after the first few minutes. The film follows, young couple, Katie and Micah (played by Katie Featherston and Micah Stoat; the actors use their real names) and their quest to film the paranormal activity that they’ve been experiencing in their home since Katie moved in. Micah is never without the video camera and sets it up on a tripod every night to film them as they sleep. The viewer starts to dread nighttime, as the anticipation for what might happen becomes greater and greater. This film was obviously shot on a very minimal budget. Peli did a nice job of finding talented and relatable actors, nonetheless. The film also had a couple of nice effects that were probably pretty tough to pull off with such a low budget. Overall, I enjoyed this film. While I am certainly a sucker for gore, nothing scares me more then the anticipation of a fright. I was extremely nervous throughout the entire movie but left wondering if it lived up to all the hype. However, every night since I saw the film I’ve turned out the lights, listened intently to every noise my house is making and then opted to sleep with the hall light on so I guess Peli did his job successfully, after all.
Watch the trailer here: