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Active Minds: Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity
(2007, 99 min, USA)
Written and Directed by Oren Peli
starring: Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat
For a minimal amount of money, a filmmaker can make a professional quality film that looks 10 times as expensive as it really is. Director Peli has done this, adding a minimum of carefully placed special effects to make his Blair Witch Project inspired no-budget horror film into something actually scary.

Katie (Featherston) and Micah (Sloat) are lower-upperclass live-togethers who have a bit of a ghost problem. Katie has been bothered by an entity since she was eight and it follows her wherever she goes. Micah thinks that a little ghost hunting might be fun, so he gets lots of equipment and starts shooting.

That's the Blair Witch aspect. With the conceit that this is amateur video, Peli and company can get away with most of the film being a no-budget comedy of manners with the two principals bickering over all sorts of stuff, while simple digital animation effectively scares the willies out of you.

This is the kind of horror film that's effective because of the cheapness of the production. The more expensive special effects perfectly blend in with the pseudo-amateur video and add realism to the whole affair. This is worth a place on the Netflix queue.

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