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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Paranormal Activity (2-Disc Digital Copy Edition)

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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted January 09 2010 - 03:22 PM

Micah and Katie are by all appearances a typical suburban couple who live together in San Diego. We meet them just as Micah has brought home a new video camera – a camera he intends to use to catch some evidence of whatever is making the strange noises in the house at night that the couple is hearing. The home setting, and domestic interplay between the boyfriend/girlfriend couple, are given time to unfold comfortably during the first act. Some may considere that time dull, but it actually serve as a disarming, normalizing, and acclimating effect (even while the characters set up the premise for us). Micah haphazardly documents the couple during the day, and sets up the camera in their bedroom overnight as they sleep – which he then reviews the next day. As the nights pass, and the evidence mounts that there is indeed some kind of paranormal activity taking place, the tensions between the young couple begin to rise, nerves become frayed, and the options for what the couple can do begin to dwindle.
Filmed entirely in the hand-held, home-made style that 1999’s Blair Witch Project used to great effect (and subsequently films such as 2007’s [REC], its American Remake Quarantine, and 2008’s Cloverfield relied upon), the ‘found-footage’ feel serves up the scares nicely. And the film is scary – just not the whirlwind of frights you may be expecting. Part of that could very well be the in-home experience. Theatrical experiences inevitably heighten emotional responses. The group experience (when not being ruined by talkers, cell-phones, and other distractions) can make a good time better. In the privacy of the home, however, what should be a more unsettling location for this film actually seems to dampen the effectiveness of the chills. Outside of the theater, Paranormal Activity’s true power is diminished.
Part of Paranormal Activities’ appeal is the underdog story; a small film with a smaller budget enjoying the kind of success that effects heavy behemoths require. But does the film actually live up to its hype? Well, yes and no. While it certainly does not come close to being able to claim the ‘scariest movie ever’ title lauded upon it from various quarters, it succeeds in generating genuine goose-bump raising chills, and when it strikes, it strikes hard. But surprisingly those moments are limited, and by function of an ominous rumbling, we are made privy of an upcoming ‘moment’ where some paranormal activity will take place. However, despite the tip-off, that supernatural moment still remains effective. When it gets it right, Paranormal Activity will give you good reason to pull a pillow close, turn down the sound, turn up the lights – or whatever your personal ritual for dealing with chilling horror movie tension.
The 1080p High Definition presentation, framed in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, seems like overkill for what is designed to be a film of consumer quality found footage. The image is free of processing issues and is flawed in the ways we expect it to be (for footage from a home camera). The 4 rating is essentially for producing the image exactly is it should look. A slick image would have betrayed the consumer quality camera footage from this average suburban couple, and any unnatural sharpening would have stood out like a sore thumb. But do you needs this in HD? Not really. Undoubtedly the image is sharper (and as Robert Harris notes in his “A Few Words About…” thread, the black levels likely a bit better) – and the audio finer, but beyond this, a standard DVD image will likely be satisfactory.

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#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Ron-P



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Posted January 09 2010 - 05:40 PM

Fantastic audio and video. It's just too bad they didn't...

end the film a minute earlier and leave out the part with the girl coming back up stairs. 
...that took it from an A+ scary film to a C-.

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#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 12 2010 - 07:59 AM

$49 MSRP and $24 street (Amazon) and no real extra features in sight.  Wow.

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#4 of 6 OFFLINE   WillG



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Posted January 13 2010 - 02:44 AM

$49 MSRP and $24 street (Amazon) and no real extra features in sight.  Wow.

Well you can't blame them, I mean it's not like this film made much profit during its theatrical run
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#5 of 6 OFFLINE   dpippel



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Posted January 13 2010 - 03:29 AM

I don't think the Blu-ray is gonna make much profit selling for $24 either. I certainly wouldn't buy it at that price.

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#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted January 16 2010 - 11:36 AM

I watched this last night.....very over-rated film IMHO!  The first part of it bored me and the character of Micah definitely grated on my nerves.  Although I did like the ending quite a bit, it only managed to pull it into average horror film territory rating for me....and this is from someone who loved "The Blairwitch Project".  Disappointing overall....

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