Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Nominee #8 - Paranormal Activity (2007)
After a young couple moves into a suburban home, they experience some disturbing activity at night and become increasingly distressed by a demonic presence.
This 2007 film by Oren Peli was shot at a $15,000 budget. And raked in an incredible $193.4 million; becoming the most profitable movie of all time in terms of ROI. It tells the very simple and linear story of Katie (played by Katie Featherston) and Micah (played by Micah Sloat) in a house where they experience a demonic haunting every night.
Katie, is appears, has been disturbed since she was a child. A psychic reveals that a demon is haunting her and wants to take control. Micah sets up cameras to find out what’s really going bump in the night during their disturbed sleep. The camera captures odd things happening. The seemingly harmless initial activity escalates as the days pass. Micah sprinkles powder on the floor to see if he can find out what is lurking in their house. They find footprints for sure, but they are certainly not human!
They hear sounds. Things move. They hear growls.
They hear sounds. Things move. They hear growls. And Katie often wakes up to stand by the bed and stare at Micah for 2 hours. Talk about passive horror, and this is as close as you’ll ever get!
Finally, the dark entity takes its decisive steps to gain control - dragging Katie off her bed and leaving a bite mark on her; completing the act of possession. The closing scene is chilling….Katie simply tosses Micah like a rag doll and her face shows us a glimpse of the entity that has invaded her. Police find Micah’s body, and no one has a clue where Katie is; leaving the story open ended for what may come next. What we know for sure is that Katie is no longer the same and is a threat to herself and everyone around her with the demon now in complete control.
For a movie shot on a $15,000 budget there’s much to be said about its innovative style; taking a leaf from the found footage concept and giving it a different slant. The movie seems slow at times but never loosens up; even with its pervading quietness it never fails to have the audience glued and looking carefully through each frame as if to find out what paranormal activity is going on. In a way, with its economy of shots, and simple yet innovative technique, the movie takes a toll on the viewer who gradually gets exhausted watching the strange live capture from the house cameras. It’s eerie, it’s tense, it never lets up. And it’s perhaps this passive style and perspective that lends an intense sense of reality to the film putting it right up there among the best in its genre!