Review: Paranormal Activity

bill bodkin reviews a film that has caused to him to lose a lot of sleep…

Horror movies and me don’t mix well like greasy slices of pizza and me don’t mix well- they both keep me up at night, staring at my ceiling, wishing that weird, uneasy feeling would just go away already.

However, for the past year, my fiancee, guest blogger extraordinaire, Sue, has helped me combat my life-long fear of horror films. Starting slow I’ve been able to get through and enjoy (for the most part) horror picks like 1408, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, The Strangers, The Shining, Poltergeist, etc.

So naturally she’s been dying to see the new horror hotness Paranormal Activity and being the awesome guy I am, I went out and rented it.

Wrong move.

Because Paranormal Activity, indeed lives up to its hype as one the scariest films ever made.

The plot of the film is not something we haven’t seen before- young, upwardly mobile couple move into a new house, weird stuff starts happening and then really awful, terrible, horrifying things happen.

And what makes this film different from its contemporary horror counterparts?

It’s “less is more” approach.

The implied horror and evil that surrounds our main characters is a million times more frightening than the current crop of horror movies which seem to be littered with spooky dead kids and obscenely graphic violence. In Paranormal, a simple gust of wind, a door closing and subtle noises will creep you out more than a dude getting his head split open, exposing his brain (a la the latest Friday the 13th movie). It’s literally your fear of the “unknown” that keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout the entire movie. You are as in the dark as they are and since much of the movie is shown through a video camera set up in the couples’ bedroom while they sleep- you actually learn more then they do about their situation before they do.

Of course, there’s a lot that isn’t very good about Paranormal Activity as well. The acting is shotty, there’s some pretty rank dialogue and the concept is very, very Blair Witch Project.

However, the simplistic, low budget approach nature of this film makes it that much scarier. It feels, like Blair Witch, that this really could’ve happened to somebody, that you’re watching a documentary. And that just amps up the tension to an almost unbearable amount.

So, be warned, if you’re looking to be scared out of your mind, rent Paranormal Activity.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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