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Paranormal Activity franchise review - Part One

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In 2009, Paranormal Activity was released in the US and changed many people’s ideas about making a scary movie. The first person perspective, seeing events through a video camera, and the dialogue that was more ad lib than scripted made the film something different in a world of horror movie remakes and clones.Welcome to the first in series of articles reviewing each of the five films that make up the world of Paranormal Activity.

In the first entry in the franchise, Paranormal Activity, Katie and Micah are introduced along with the idea that this entire film was spliced together from their home movies. This was kind of gimmicky, and seemed sort of like a rip off of The Blair Witch Project, but it really worked to draw audiences into a personal story of the lives of this couple. Viewers had a much more focused picture of life through the character’s eyes as the camera was passed back and forth between Katie and Micah through the film. There were some really cool special effects and some scary moments, but it was just the uniqueness of the use of single camera shots and first person perspective that propelled this movie to success on a budget of around $15,000.

As Paranormal Activity 2 came on the scene, a new family was introduced, Katie’s sister and her family that had a small son. This time the activity, strange happenings, weird noises in the house, focused on the little boy, Hunter. The action in this film is captured through security cameras placed around the house after a burglary. This makes for some interesting cut scenes and shifts of perspective as the cameras switch from one to another. The addition of the Hispanic housekeeper, Martine, allows for the religious influences to be pervasive. Spiritual cleansings and crosses being waved mark some of the more interesting scenes culminating in the finale of Katie showing up and abducting Hunter after killing both her sister, Kristi, and Dan, Kristi’s husband.

There are still many questions left unanswered. The next installment of this series will cover Paranormal Activity 3 and 4. Thanks for reading.

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