The Weekend Rent: Paranormal Activity

The Weekend Rent: Paranormal Activity

Oct 22, 2010

Opening in theaters today is Paranormal Activity 2, the anticipated sequel to last year's viral phenomenon that had some people running down the aisles and out of the theater. The original Paranormal Activity premiered at the Screamfest Film Festival back in 2007 and was acquired by Paramount/Dreamworks for $350,000. After earning over $193 million worldwide, Paranormal Activity became one of the most profitable movies of all time, so it would be scary if the studio didn't make a sequel.

Paranormal Activity is presented as "found footage" that a young couple, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat), took in their home that is haunted by a malevolent supernatural presence. The little demon runs up and down the stairs, slams doors and destroys photographs in addition to bellowing some inhuman noises. This all has a debilitating psychological effect on Katie, who starts standing by the bed in the middle of the night and staring at Micah in a semi-dream state for hours on end. The activity escalates until Katie is dragged down the hall one night by an invisible force that also leaves a nasty bite mark on her back. Before you can scream "run to a hotel," Katie calms herself and insists they remain in the house, which ranks up there with one of the worst decisions by a movie character of all time.

Even though Paranormal Activity was filmed on a Sony FX1 camera (i.e. something you would use for shooting a toddler's birthday party and not a Hollywood production), the spookfest is available on both DVD and Blu-ray, although calling the latter "high def" is a stretch in terminology. This is some activity you'll want to check out again on disc before seeing the sequel in the theaters, especially because the new film features Katie's sister living down the street and experiencing some scarily familiar phenomena concurrently with Katie and Micah. Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain alternate endings and a list with the names of hundreds of fans like yourself who submitted their names for inclusion in the end credits as a "thank you" from the filmmakers for its success. If you have the patience—and are adept at using the "slow" and "pause step" features on your remote—you'll find your name in lights like Blu-ray Bob did.

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