Blu-Ray Review: Paranormal Activity

Katie and Micah filming themselves as they sleep

One of the most contentious and derided areas of horror cinema is the sub-genre of found footage films. It’s a conceit that was occasionally used in the past but first came to prominence with the release of The Blair Witch Project in 1999. It has been used badly so many times since, but had a golden age during the next decade with the likes of Cloverfield, REC and in Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity, which went on to spawn a franchise.

Young couple Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) have just moved into their new home in suburban San Diego. After a series of strange noises and unexplainable occurrences, they soon begin to suspect that the property is haunted. In order to try and prove this, Micah buys a video camera and sets it up to record whilst they’re sleeping. The results are terrifying and have and have the effect of enraging this entity.  

Paranormal Activity is on of those films which seemed to come out of nowhere and uses timing and misdirection well to create a tense and suspenseful horror. Despite a rather straightforward premise, Peli’s film works so well because of the attention to detail. It’s filmed in a way to draw you in and then hits you with a sucker punch.  Even when you know they’re coming, the scares still send a chill down your spine. Paranormal Activity remains a classic of the sub-genre.

Special features:

  • Audio commentary by Oren Peli
  • Audio commentary by Mary Beth McAndrews and Terry Mesnard
  • Breaking Normal: a new interview with Oren Peli
  • The Marked One: a new interview with Katie Featherston
  • The Man with the Camera: a new interview with Micah Sloat
  • The Possessed: a new interview with Ashley Palmer
  • Alternative Ending
  • The Festival Cut ending
  • Deleted scene
  • English subtitles for the hearing impaired

Limited edition contents

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by James Neal
  • Soft cover book with new essays by Sarah Appleton, Anton Bitel, Shellie McMurdo and Pete Turner
  • 6 collectors’ art cards

Paranormal Activity is released on limited edition Blu-ray by Second Sight on 20 September.

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