By Gary Buiso
“Paranormal Activity” is a truly creepy horror film that mostly follows Alfred Hitchcock’s observation that “there is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it.”
Israeli director/writer Oren Peli builds a palpable sense of dread and claustrophobia, all for an astonishingly meager budget of $15,000. The bargain thriller, shot in faux documentary style, yields a windfall of frights that will likely resonate after the film’s disturbing crescendo.
Aside from genuine Halloween scares, “Paranormal Activity” posits a very important relationship conundrum: What do you do when your girlfriend claims to be haunted by a demon?
Kicking her to the curb isn’t an option for Micah (Micah Sloat), whose San Diego home is suddenly going bump in the night ever since girlfriend Katie (Katie Featherston) moved in. Of course, she never bothered to tell him about the strange noises and hot demon breath that have been haunting her most of her life.
Micah decides the best course of action is to buy a video recorder to capture whatever is raising hell. Turns out, demons are rather camera shy, and they don’t quite take a shine to the boyfriend’s meddling.
The actors have real chemistry, which adds to the creeped-out cinéma vérité vibe. Peli uses slamming doors and bedsheets like Tobe Hooper employed a chainsaw. The mundane has never been more terrifying.
“Paranormal Activity” does a lot more with less.
“Paranormal Activity.” Rated R for language. Running time: 86 minutes. With Micah Sloat, Katie Featherston, and Mark Fredrichs.
Playing in Brooklyn at Access Digital Theatres - Pavilion Cinema (Park Slope), AMC Loews Kings Plaza 6 (Flatlands), UA Court Street Stadium 12 (Downtown Brooklyn), UA Sheepshead Bay 14, and Bay Ridge Alpine Cinemas.