Paranormal Activity

Rated 3.0

A young couple (Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat) sets up a video camera to document sinister occurrences that have plagued Featherston since childhood, and writer-director Oren Peli’s movie purports to be the footage they capture. It’s a Blair Witch-style stunt, shot on a high-def shoestring, and except for a closing boilerplate this-story-is-fictitious disclaimer, Peli maintains the hoax to the end, even using the actors’ real names for their characters. There’s no real plot, the couple do the usual horror-movie dumb things (like entering rooms without turning on the lights), and the ending is a foregone conclusion. It may all turn out to be a fluke (as Blair Witch was), but Peli shows a talent for suspense and creating an atmosphere of dread, and Featherston and Sloat give effective (improvised?) performances.