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"PARANORMAL ACTIVITY"
(2009) (Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Mild Extreme Extreme None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy Heavy None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate None None Heavy Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Horror: A young couple must contend with increasing amounts of paranormal activity in their house that they document by recording everything on a home video camera.
PLOT:
Katie (KATIE FEATHERSTON) is an English major who's dealt with various forms of paranormal activity most of her life, most notably at the ages of eight and thirteen. Now that it's started once again, her live-in boyfriend, Micah (MICAH SLOAT), has purchased a video camera to capture footage of any such sights and sounds.

Despite her increasing concerns, he thinks there's a logical explanation to the slightly odd occurrences they experience. Accordingly, he doesn't give much credence to a psychic (MICHAEL BAYOUTH) she's called for assistance and who informs them that they need more help than he can provide, as he senses this might involve a demon rather than a ghost.

Even so, as Micah begins examining the footage he's shot -- leaving the camera rolling as they sleep through the night -- and starts seeing and then later personally experiencing inexplicable events, he and Katie quickly realize this is far more serious than they imagined. As the paranormal activity progressively escalates, it soon becomes clear that whatever is haunting them is after her and isn't pleased with his initial skepticism & sarcasm or later attempts to fix the problem.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
The buzz surrounding this film will certainly entice those who are into scary movies.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KATIE FEATHERSTON plays a young woman who's experienced paranormal activity at various points in her life, but nothing as bad as what continually escalates now. She must not only contend with that, but also her live-in boyfriend who doesn't take the matter seriously (at least at first) and keeps shooting footage of that and everything else, thus annoying her. She uses strong profanity.
  • MICAH SLOAT plays her live-in boyfriend, a day trader who initially doesn't pay much heed to the odd occurrences in the house, thinking it's more interesting and fun than scary. But that changes as things escalate and he keeps the camera rolling despite her objections. He also uses strong profanity.
  • MICHAEL BAYOUTH plays a psychic who arrives at Katie's request, but informs the young couple that their issue is far more serious than he can handle.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated horror film. Profanity consists of at least 36 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some non-explicit, but sexually related dialogue is present, while off-screen sex occurs, and a woman shows varying amounts of cleavage.

    There's a brief bit of apparently lethal violence (mostly off-camera), while an invisible demon drags a woman out of bed and down the hallway floor and apparently bites her off-screen. There's a little bit of blood, but nothing too graphic. Those scenes and plenty of supernatural related footage and moments of potential peril will likely be unsettling, suspenseful and/or scary for many viewers.

    Bad attitudes are present, as is behavior (mainly replicating scares) that might be enticing for some kids to imitate. Wine is briefly consumed in one scene.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, aside from the moments when the camera is on a tripod or put down, there's nearly non-stop camera movement, often extremely bouncy.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • The couple has wine with dinner.
  • Micah jokingly tells Katie to pop a pill to deal with what they've experienced.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see what appears to be a large bite mark on Katie's back from a previous demonic encounter.
  • Micah finds Katie in a catatonic state, gripping a cross so tightly she's cut her hand, which is bloody, while some of that blood is also on her leg.
  • We see blood on the front of Katie's shirt.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Micah doesn't take Katie's concerns and later fear seriously (at least until things really get scary), and ignores her requests for him to stop filming her, antagonizing and/or trying to contact the demon, and using a Ouija board for the latter after she asked him not to do that.
  • While never personified, the demon purposefully tries to frighten and later possess Katie in a slow, torturous way.
  • Micah doesn't pay any credence to a psychic and what he says, referring to him as "What a fruit" after he leaves.
  • Micah jokingly tells Katie to pop a pill to deal with what they've experienced.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed here will likely be unsettling, suspenseful and/or scary to many viewers, particularly regarding the young and and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Everything that's seen is from the viewpoint of the handheld camera.
  • The following may contain spoilers regarding particular scares in the film.
  • We hear brief sounds off in the house somewhere as the couple sleeps. The next morning, Katie finds her keys out in the middle of the floor downstairs.
  • Katie admits that her experience with paranormal activity started when she was eight and continued when she was thirteen, and states that her family's house burned down during one such period.
  • Katie talks about her paranormal experiences that include hearing long scratching sounds and the calling of her name.
  • We see locked down, stationary footage of the bedroom at night as the couple sleeps and the open bedroom door slightly moves and then returns to its original position.
  • Katie lets out a scream and Micah races to her, only to find that she's frightened by a small spider in the bathroom.
  • We see various sketches of demons in a book about them.
  • We see footage of Katie suddenly bolting upright in bed, gasping for her breath.
  • We hear a loud thump in the house.
  • We see locked down, stationary footage of the bedroom at night as the couple sleeps and there's a loud thump that awakens them. They slowly go to investigate, and the light from their camera shows a hanging light fixture downstairs swinging back and forth.
  • Micah asks (mostly funny) questions of the demon, recording that with a microphone. When he later plays that back, he hears a muffled grunt after one question (but again, this is mostly played for laughs based on his reaction).
  • We see locked down, stationary footage of the bedroom at night as the couple sleeps when Katie gets up, turns and then stands there, just starring at Micah as he sleeps (the footage is then sped up, with the time code showing hours passing by with her standing there, nearly motionless). Back at regular speed, she then walks off into the dark distance, with Micah waking up and then being unable to find her. He searches the house (with just the light of his camera illuminating his path), and there are various moments where we think something scary is going to happen, including when he finds the basement sliding glass door open and he peers out there. He then finds Katie in a swing, nearly catatonic, and she doesn't want to go back inside. He then does to retrieve some blankets, but there's a loud thump upstairs, and when he returns to the bedroom, the TV is now on, just showing snow. He then spins around and Katie is suddenly there.
  • Micah and Katie leave the house, followed by the sound of footsteps in the living room, the movement of some plants, and the Ouija board he was using suddenly moves, with the pointer moving back and forth across the board before suddenly igniting and burning there. When he later examines the board, it appears that symbols and perhaps a message have been etched onto the board.
  • Micah places powder all over the floor in hopes of catching visual proof of the demon moving through the house. We then see footage of the bedroom at night as the couple sleeps, with the sound of approaching footsteps and then views of white, clawed footprints appearing. The couple then wakes up and Katie freaks out, especially when she realizes the footprints come into the room, but none go back out. He then follows the trail of footprints from where they came, and they lead to a closet where they spot the attic access panel slightly ajar. Using a ladder, Micah then peaks up there, slowly spinning around, until he spots something in the insulation. Katie worries when he goes up into the attic and doesn't respond to her calls, but he then returns with a partially burned, old photo of her when she was a girl.
  • We see locked down, stationary footage of the bedroom at night as the couple sleeps and hear footsteps, followed by a light coming on in another room. It then goes off, their bedroom door suddenly slams, and then there's loud pounding from the other side. Micah then slowly opens the door to see what's there, and they go out into the hallway, followed by the bedroom door suddenly slamming shut again, with sounds from the inside of the bedroom.
  • The couple hears noises from downstairs and slowly goes to investigate.
  • There's a loud thump from upstairs during the day, and the couple finds a framed picture of them on the wall where the glass is cracked and there's a large slash through his image.
  • Katie freaks out, saying she can feel the demon breathing on her.
  • We see locked down, stationary footage of the bedroom at night as the couple sleeps. The sheets on the bed move by her, and then do so again, billowing up to expose her foot. A light outside the bedroom goes on and then off, followed by the shadow of a figure being seen crossing by the open bedroom door.
  • Katie again says she felt the demon breathing on her.
  • The psychic returns to the house, only to be freaked out immediately, and he says he must leave and then does so.
  • We see a web page that shows photos and brief video footage (grainy and hard to discern) of a woman who experienced similar paranormal activity back in the 1960s, and the footage seems to show that she's possessed by the demon.
  • We see locked down, stationary footage of the bedroom at night as the couple sleeps. A shadow crosses by the open door and Katie's leg is then slowly pulled out from under the sheets. She's then pulled from the bed down onto the floor and then quickly yanked down the hallway and out of sight as the bedroom door slams. Micah then races there to rescue her (we can't really see what occurs off in the distance).
  • Micah finds Katie in a catatonic state, gripping a cross so tightly she's cut her hand, which is bloody, while some of that blood is also on her leg.
  • Despite all that's occurred, Katie suddenly acts calm and tells Micah that everything is going to be okay (we know that's not true).
  • We see locked down, stationary footage of the bedroom at night as the couple sleeps, with Katie then getting up. Something then slowly pulls the sheet off Micah as he sleeps, and Katie then goes over and stands by him, starring down while standing nearly motionless (as the footage speeds up and shows she stands there for hours). The footage then returns to normal speed and she walks out of the room into the dark. We then hear a bloodcurdling scream, as does Micah who races off to find and help her, but we then hear him screaming as well, followed by silence from both.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Micah's body suddenly comes flying through the air from off in the distance and hits the camera. Moments later, Katie, with blood on the front of her shirt, slowly walks up, kneels down to examine him, turns toward the camera now looking demonic, and suddenly lunges at the camera.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "What the f*ck /is going on/are you doing?" "I don't know what the f*ck is going on," "You little f*cker," "I don't f*cking believe you," "Get the f*ck out," "How the f*ck do you know?" "F*cking-A," "So f*cking tired," "F*cking freaking me out," "F*ck this sh*t," "Weird sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "Random sh*t," "Really golden sh*t," "I didn't do sh*t," "Oh sh*t," "I've had it with this sh*t," "A giant ass camera," "Sweet," "A little more freaked," "What a fruit," "Nuts" (crazy), "Demons suck," "Creeped out," "What the hell are you doing?" "Chill (out)," "Pissed," "My ass," "You're being an idiot" and "Shut up."
  • Some kids may be enticed to copy some of the scares in the film in hopes of frightening others.
  • Micah playfully gives "the finger" to the camera, first with both hands, and then makes a fishing gesture where a middle finger ends up raised.
  • Katie's friend wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • Micah places powder all over the floor in hopes of catching visual proof of the demon moving through the house.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The couple's bedroom door suddenly but slowly moves.
  • Micah spins around and Katie is suddenly there.
  • The couple's bedroom door suddenly (and loudly) slams shut, and then does so again moments later.
  • Katie is suddenly pulled from her bed and then quickly yanked down the hallway, followed by the bedroom door slamming shut.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Micah's body suddenly comes flying through the air from off in the distance and hits the camera, followed moments later by Katie suddenly lunging at the camera.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 36 "f" words, 11 "s" words, 5 hells, 2 asses, 1 damn, 11 uses of "Oh my God," 3 of "Oh God," 2 each of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" and 1 use each of "G-damn" and "Oh Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Micah has his camera shot on Katie's clothed butt as she goes up some steps.
  • Katie shows varying amounts of cleavage (sometimes a lot) in various outfits. She's also occasionally seen in somewhat small, boxer-type shorts for sleeping.
  • Micah playfully asks Katie if he can get a little striptease from her (on camera). She says no and he then asks for a bra and panties shot, but she again says no.
  • Micah playfully asks if he could get some "extracurricular" footage on their camera (presumably meaning sex), but Katie says no.
  • We see Micah shirtless in the pool.
  • Micah again asks about extracurricular activity on the camera, Katie says not with the camera on, and he says he'll cut it off for 10 minutes (prompting her to laugh about that amount of time he specified, presumably referring to her disbelief that he can extend their sexual encounter that long). We then see him on top of her (clothed) and she notes that the camera is still on, with him playfully saying it's just the standby light she's seeing. The camera is then turned off and then turned back on after they've had sex (no nudity), with him joking that she's a wild animal and that what they just did is illegal in a number of states.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Paranormal activity and whether it really exists or not.
  • Demons vs. ghosts.
  • The notion that it's Katie and not the house that's causing the paranormal activity (meaning if she leaves, the problems will follow her).
  • Micah and Katie live together, have been dating for 3 years, and are "engaged to be engaged" according to Micah.
  • How the film uses the viewer's imagination for many of the scares rather than special effects or a scary score.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Everything that's seen is from the viewpoint of the handheld camera.
  • Katie is suddenly pulled from her bed and then quickly yanked down the hallway by the invisible demon. We later see what appears to be a large bite mark on her back.
  • SPOILER ALERT: A body suddenly comes flying through the air from off in the distance and hits the camera, and the person is apparently dead (the killing presumably having occurred off-screen and not from the throw and/or impact with the camera).



  • Reviewed October 7, 2009 / Posted October 9, 2009

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