Rating: 4 out of 5.

The novel Paranormal Activity trilogy is traditionally a found footage style horror movie. The first movie was released in 2007, and it followed a couple named Katie and Micah who move in with each other and start to notice strange things happening while they sleep. The direct sequel which was released in 2010 takes place two months before the first movie and follows Katie’s sister Kristi and her family after she gives birth to her son. The third movie released in 2011 is a prequel that introduces Katie and Kristi as little girls who have strange things start happening in their house.

Now when these movies first came out I thought they were just schlocky cheap horror movies made to make a quick buck. I never was interested in them genuinely thinking that all they naturally had going for them was loud jump scares which are cheap and lazy to typically do. It wasn’t until I was listening to a podcast by Dead Meat that it caused me to think twice about the movies. Listening to that podcast and the way they dissected the movies made them sound interesting and something deeper than what I initially thought of them at first. 

After listening to the reviews, I decided to watch all three movies in a row which is pretty easy considering they are relatively short movies. I undoubtedly have to justly say I was wrong about these successful movies; they are not just cheap jump scares for jump scares sake. They utilize absolutely excellent characters except for Micah. He’s an asshole. They don’t force the frequent use of portable cameras which naturally make the found footage style work. The successful movie also manages to use long still effective shots to generate considerable tension even if nothing typically happens. Just seeing a long shot of a hallway has your heart racing wondering if something is going to happen. Many of the scares come from lesser things.

These movies were developed on a cheap budget which is surprising because that doesn’t undermine them it aids them. The more shoestring budgets give the movies a more authentic feeling and it also helps since they didn’t include the budget for CGI which would have ruined the movie. By not having much money, it forced them to use practical effects which are always best. To be honest these principal characters felt real in these scenarios no fake acting or being stupid like many other doubtful characters in the found footage genre.

Now I have not seen the rest of the movies, but I have heard mixed reviews about them. The successful movie also manages to use long still effective shots to generate considerable tension even if nothing typically happens. I genuinely have to say I genuinely want this series to keep going just to see where they go with the characters and the mythos. I will say if you had any preconceived notions about these films provide them a shot I am convinced you’ll enjoy them.