Paranormal Activity: Analysis and Critique Rick Mitchell September 12, 2011 ENG 225: Introduction to Film Instructor: Alene Morrison Paranormal Activity was a movie that everyone wanted to see as soon as the previews hit the movie screen. The previews showed the viewer small pieces of the movie so they would be left wondering and want to go see the movie as soon as they could. Paranormal Activity was based on a true story about a young couple dealing with a paranormal entity.
The young woman,Katie, was the one being haunted while her boyfriend, Micah, made home videos of all the mysterious things that were happening in the house.
The different camera angles, cinematography, editing and the way the story unfolds in front of the audience are the things that make this movie so captive. Storytelling A film will have more success if it starts with a good story. (Goodykoontz, 2011) Paranormal Activity is a film that not only starts with a good story but keeps that story going through the entire movie.
The story being told in a film is what draws the attention of the audience. It evokes emotion in the audience and makes them care about the story, watching to know how it ends, and it makes them care about the characters. In Paranormal Activity, the audience gets attached to the couple hoping that they rid their lives of this entity and “live happily ever after”. In the end the boyfriend, Micah, dies and the girlfriend vanishes without a trace. It leaves everyone wondering what happened to her and at the same time they are saddened by the death of Micah.
Acting Paranormal Activity was made to look like nobody was acting, everything is natural. It is home video footage collaborated together into a movie to be viewed by an audience. When the audience is watching the story unfold, they can relate to the fear that the characters are feeling. Every movement, expression and reaction to events is so real that the viewer can’t help to feel the emotions of the characters and have an instant reaction of fear throughout the entire film. Sound Throughout the movie the only sounds you hear are natural sounds.
There are no sound effects or music playing. By doing this I think that it help the audience focus on the story that is being told. If there were any special sounds effects then the audience would not be able to focus on the sounds that are being made by the paranormal entity and that would take away from the film. In most cases, the sound effects or a score added at a certain point would add to the movie but with this particular film anything extra would ruin the movie. Editing, Style and Directing
What makes this film so great and captive is the lack of any obvious editing or directing. There were some moments in the film where some minimal editing was done. When watching the home videos shot at night they speed up time and obviously not all of the footage is shown, only the parts that help tell the story. There is absolutely no sign of any directing being done. A director’s job is to direct the characters in a way that helps the writers original story come to life. In Paranormal Activity, everything is more natural.
The characters in the movie are reacting to situations in a natural way and telling their own story without the help of a director to tell them what to do. This movie follows the style of reality television. Everything is raw and unscripted and the only editing done is when the unimportant, unrelated scenes are cut out. Critique Paranormal Activity is an all-around amazingly made film. The story being told unfolds so well which is usually the result of a well-written story that is skillfully directed. The complete lack of a written story and directing is what makes this film so attractive.
When the movie came out on DVD for home viewing they added an alternative ending. Adding the alternative ending was probably the worst part of the home viewing experience and almost made the movie less interesting. Because the viewer has the option of changing how the story ends that takes away from the realism that is portrayed in the film. It leaves people wondering if the movie was actual footage that was found and made into a movie or if it was a movie that was made to look like home video footage.
The alternate ending adds confusion to a movie that was intended to be straight forward rather than confusing. Everybody that worked together to make this film possible did an amazing job. When the hauntings are going on there are no obvious special effects which leaves the audience wondering how it was done. Everything is so incredibly real that it leaves the audience wondering if it is in fact actual home footage or if it was just a genius director and screen writer and amazing actors.
If this movie was made exactly the same but used well-known actors it would take away from the realism that is being conveyed. Conclusion Although the opening credits of Paranormal Activity state that the following movie is actual footage found after the death of Micah and disappearance of Katie, there is in fact a director. This movie was made in the simplest fashion using camera angles, lighting and the pure lack of acting to make it believable for the audience. References: Goodykoontz, B. (2011). Film: From Watching to Seeing retrieved from https://content. ashford. edu/books/