Paranormal Activity is the kind of movie that creeps into your subconscious.
When I first watched this supernatural thriller with a group of horror-loving friends (including Rachel, of course), I didn’t find it particularly scary. The film documents the day-to-day life of a young couple that has recently moved in together. As day turns to night, however, it becomes apparent that Demon makes three, and the boyfriend attempts to record the demonic activity, setting up a camera to film them while they sleep.
There were a couple of moments while watching the film when I jumped, but overall I felt assured that the line between reality and fantasy would remain intact, despite the realness of the film’s DIY camcorder style.
Then I was alone, in bed.
My mind couldn’t help flashing back to the scene where a ghostly presence enters the main couple’s room and drags the girl out of bed. She wasn’t even safe with her boyfriend right next to her! What chance could I have, on this particular stormy San Franciscan night, when my significant other happened to not be around?
Sure, I live in a studio apartment—so it’s not like there are vast rooms for unnatural entities to hide in. It’s not scary like a house is. The paper-thin walls usually assure me that there is some other human toiling away into the wee hours, whether they are typing on the computer, having sex or, as in the case of my upstairs neighbors, using their damned sewing machine.
For some reason on this particular night my complex was quiet. As I scanned the room with my tired eyes I pulled my comforter up over my arms, careful not to leave any extremities available for evil spirits to grasp.
“Maybe I should put some baby powder on the floor, so that I can see if a demon-thingy makes inhuman footprints on the floor, like in the movie,” I thought, brain-addled by lack of sleep. “Nah. I don’t even own baby powder. Plus, I’ve heard that talc is bad for your lungs.”
I tried to push down images of a black floaty being hovering around my bed, but try as I might I couldn’t quite shake it. The minutes seemed to pass like hours, and my eyes started playing tricks on me in the dark.
Finally, I reached out and switched on the light—quickly, in order to evade the deathly grasp of the cold, dead fingers that inevitably were waiting for me in the darkness.
There was nothing there—but the damage was done. I kept the light on for the rest of the night, and eventually sleep overtook me.
It’s been a few weeks since I watched Paranormal Activity, and luckily my sleep cycles have returned to normal. If you are looking to be traumatized for life, this isn’t the movie for you—but its level of creepiness should not be taken lightly. In an era of torture porn, it is refreshing in its reliance on the psychological aspects of terror.
If you love scary movies, you need to check this one out.