Paranormal Activity will give you the chills, and proves again that you can make a good horror flick on a shoestring budget (estimated at a mere $11K). Hardcore horror fans will probably not be drinking the Kool-Aid, but if you're like me, and don't watch much horror, it'll do the trick. There was a definite Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield feel with the non-stop handheld camera work, but much less jittery. With a pretty simple plot, and increasing suspense, you won't be completely disappointed with Paranormal Activity.
We follow a couple weeks of - get this - paranormal activity that Katie (played by Katie Featherston) and Micah (played by Micah Sloat) experiences in their home. They are a cute, young couple that come off as very normal, with what seems to be a demon haunting them. After some weird shit, Micah decides to buy a camcorder, and high-end audio equipment to track what's going on. He carries the camera around at all times throughout the house, aside from when it's on a tri-pod while the couple sleeps.
Katie has had a history of paranormal signs, dating back to when she was eight; they try to figure out what might be the cause of it, so they invite a psychic to speak with them. The psychic's opinion is that Katie has been dealing with a demon, and refers the couple to work with a demonologist. Micah isn't sold on the demon option, so he tries to take the matter into his own hands (e.g. a weegie board, online research, putting baby powder on the ground to trace physical steps, etc.). As the experiences get more and more intense, Katie is getting noticeably fed up with Micah's sarcasm and disbelief (which we needed him so the audience kept their grounding in reality).
I loved the authentic feel between the couple, because their chemistry and normal "couple quirks" continued to leave a realistic atmosphere. The acting was unnoticeable; what I mean by that is Katie and Micah's interactions could have easily been any couple, that wasn't on film. That being said, I wish more of their life would have been explained, since there were several scenes during the day and at night; how do these 20-somethings afford their nice two story house, without leaving for work? Another thing that bugged me was that, aside from one of Katie's friends, who comes over to their house twice, neither of them contact other friends or family. I might be a pussy, but you better believe if there's crazy shit going on at my place, I'm calling daddy.
The R rating comes from language, but there's no gore, killings or other such "typical" horror features. But what the fuck - Katie has such awesome tits, yet we never get to see them - that's fucked. The film was successful at freaking you out, with nearly every scare coming from an expected scene, which (to me) is even more impressive than forced screams with shit popping out of nowhere. If you have a vagina, you will be clinging to your armrests and / or boy toy, which makes it a good date movie.