Paranormal Activity

Rated 3.0

If I had first encountered the $15,000-budgeted Paranormal Activity before it went viral, I would have been impressed and ultimately more satisfied with the craft of this suburban ghost story. But seeing it now as a $100 million-grossing phenomenon leaves it with a whole new set of expectative baggage that Oren Peli’s unsettling but slight film proves unable to bear. There’s no disputing why it was a hit—at a time when horror films have hit a rock bottom of pointless sadism, Paranormal Activity gets under your skin by being “real.” A douchey husband and his possessed wife set up a camera in their bedroom to record the demonic goings-on that have been plaguing their McMansion. The resulting “actual footage” becomes the film, but the stupid-even-for-a-horror-movie couple sticks around even after capturing indisputable documentary proof of a malicious spectral presence.