Horror Movie: Paranormal Activity (2009; 86 minutes)

I started my 31 Days of Horror project with this movie after non-stop begging over the past several weeks by my 12-year-old, who has a sudden new fascination with gore and horror, but who is not old enough to watch most of what’s out there. My rule: I have to screen the movies first to see if she’s ready for it. Paranormal Activity is rated R, which would normally be an automatic NO for her, but I’ve actually given her the thumbs up! High five from the tween!

Set in San Diego in September and October of ’06, PA features Katie and Michah, a young couple in suburbia with apparently only one friend among them. Filmed in the style of The Blair Witch Project (hand-held camera shot by one of the characters), PA is still a fun watch.

Katie was 8 when her “haunting” started, and it has followed her wherever she goes. As events in their home escalate with unexplained sounds, movement of objects, breezes, etc., Katie calls in a psychic for help, along with her nearly mute friend (not that she can’t talk, she just doesn’t help Katie in any way). Apparently not a single family member knows of her plight as they never call or visit or check on her in any way that we ever see.

Michah prefers the Ouija board approach to solving the mystery of the “haunting,” and those who know me also know the Ouija board creeps me out! Unfortunately, though, both approaches are no help for poor Katie. Over time, the “haunting” grows more and more possessive of Katie, leading up to the climactic (of course) ending. An alternate ending is available but I definitely prefer the original.

  • Top Scare: Night 17 or 18
  • Heartbeats: 2 3/4 out of 5
  • Gore factor: 0 out of 5
  • Recommended for: R rating is mostly due to a few spouts of the “F” word, I guess…most 12 and up can handle this!

Next up: The Uninvited

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