For anyone who doesn’t know the story, Oren Peli’s 2007 Paranormal Activity is about a young suburban couple harassed by a malevolent demon. A straightforward premise, expertly executed for a reported budget of $15,000 (although reshoots and a new ending added a little more), that went on to recoup almost $200 million. It is the most profitable film ever, inspired a franchise and, like Jaws and Alien, has entered popular culture; if you haven’t seen it, you know about it.
So, why do we need a new Blu-ray release? The truth is you don’t.
The problem is that the film’s structure and concept are based around surprise and intrigue, the much-quoted and oft-maligned ‘quiet, quiet, BANG’ approach to filmmaking so prevalent in lesser found footage productions and modern horror in general. Once you’ve experienced that initial viewing, any subsequent watch will inevitably dilute the experience. While there is much more to Paranormal Activity than that simplistic generalisation suggests, the point remains relevant.
What is so easily forgotten is how influential a film this is. While The Blair Witch Project spawned the found footage moniker several years before, it was Paranormal Activity that really demonstrated what could be done. For independent, aspiring filmmakers, this changed everything. Since 2007 there have been almost 200 films produced that fall into this genre, with the majority made on limited or small budgets.
The extras here are fine, largely consisting of cast and crew interviews, and the clarity is certainly improved. But really, the only reason to purchase this new release is if you don’t already own it. Paranormal Activity is an important film, but one that doesn’t necessarily require repeat viewing.
Paranormal Activity Limited Edition Blu-ray from Second Sight is available on September 30th.