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Paranormal Activity (Blu-ray / DVD)

Paranormal Activity on Blu-ray and DVD (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Frederichs

Directed by Oren Peli

Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment


I’ve been waiting a long time to write this review. A REALLY long time. Since 10/07/2007 to be exact. That was the first time we were exposed to the goodness that is Paranormal Activity, and I’m happy to say we were the ones who wrote the first ever Paranormal Activity review (here). It sure has been a long road to distribution, and while on it the film went through many revisions. Many endings. You name it. When it finally came out, it exceeded expectations. It broke records. And, most importantly, it scared the shit out of the majority of the country. Sometimes it feels really good to be validated. Now Paramount Home Entertainment has brought the little flick that could home to Blu-ray and DVD in a … well … in a really bittersweet package.

For those of you who don’t know the story, Katie (Featherston) is a very troubled young woman. Throughout her life she’s been haunted by an unseen entity. Still, as with most bad things we all have to face, she has learned to deal with it and move on. In fact, everything was going pretty sweet for her until she moved in with her boyfriend Micah (Sloat). Instead of ignoring these things like Katie does, Micah wants to explore them. Film them. Goad them on to the point of being an absolute antagonist. This is something you just shouldn’t do. Before you know it, what starts as a few mischievous things here and there ends up turning very bad and very holy-shit-somebody-put-on-a-fucking-nightlight scary.

Paranormal Activity on Blu-ray and DVD (click for larger image)Let me stress this … Paranormal Activity is not a haunted house movie. Our couple cannot just leave the structure and move on. This is a haunted person movie. Wherever Katie goes, these demons go with her, and that makes for a pretty compelling movie. However, it’s also a film that’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for big budget, mile a minute attempts at trickery, gore, or jump scares, you’re likely to hate this flick. Paranormal Activity preys upon your most primal fears like what’s going on around you while you’re sleeping and totally helpless, and in that respect it’s damned effective. This is pure minimalist horror at its finest.

For a cinéma-vérité film to work, the actors populating the space cannot hit a single false note. If they do, the entire experience will be ruined. Katie and Micah are 110% believable. In fact it’s pretty hard to believe that they’re not a couple. Their performances, coupled with director Oren Peli’s deliberate pacing, make for a truly chilling movie that will stay with you long after you’ve watched it and are lying in bed late at night. Every single noise or creak your house makes during the wee hours will have you squirming and grabbing either your pillow or the person next to you. Really effective stuff.

The main differences between the available DVD(s) and the Blu-ray come in the form of picture and sound quality. In this particular case, though, you’re pretty good with either package. They’re totally comparable. The sound mix is nothing short of stunning and is home to the majority of the film’s punch, and being that this is a shot-on-the-spot found footage film, while the Blu-ray’s image is a bit deeper and sharper, it’s not like you’re going to be missing much in standard def. The only thing unique to the Blu-ray is the standard definition digital copy of the theatrical version of the film.

Paranormal Activity on Blu-ray and DVD (click for larger image)Speaking of unique, there’s also a Special Collector’s DVD available that includes everything here in addition to a t-shirt and a film cell.

So now let’s get to the goods, shall we? There aren’t any. That’s right, nothing. Not a trailer, not a featurette, not a commentary, nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nil. Donut Land. Really, Paramount? The movie makes over one hundred million dollars at the box office, and this is what we get on the first home video release? Why not just hang up a sign that reads, “Don’t worry! A Proper Edition Will Be Coming in the Future”? Of course I could be wrong about that, but my instincts tell me otherwise.

So, what is here? You get two versions of the movie — the theatrical cut and the unrated cut with an alternate ending. I’ve seen just about every ending this movie has had, and lord knows there have been several. I’m so happy to say that my favorite one has been included here, and it’s nothing short of an absolute punch to the jaw. So happy to see it again! I’m thinking it’s gonna be the clear favorite over the Spielberg Ending shown in theatres. This inclusion truly kicks ass but is sadly all she wrote.

Paranormal Activity is a movie best enjoyed at home with the lights out and the sound up. Way up. If you can weed through all the hype surrounding it, you’re likely to love every second. If you’re one of those people who are going into it dead-set on not being scared, then you’re already killing it for yourself. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, man. It’s one of the spookiest you’re bound to take for a good long while.

Special Features

  • Two cuts of the film
  • Digital copy (Blu-ray only)
  • Film cell (online purchase only Collector’s Edition)
  • T-shirt (online purchase only Collector’s Edition)

    Film:

    4 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    1/2 out of 5

    Discuss Paranormal Activity in our Dread Central forums!

  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    • jesstro

      You know what? the DVD has the obvious alternate scene, but apparently according to my brother, the Blu-ray has got a different alternate cut! WTF?! I have yet to see it myself… but that’s pretty lousy to split it that way. Love the movie tho!!!

      • Uncle Creepy

        Tell your brother he’s misinformed and not at all worthy of this particular superiority dance! ;) There is no alternate cut. It’s just one scene the alternate ending. The DVD and the Blu-ray are EXACTLY the same.

    • Deacon

      WOW! I have never read such a load of drivel in my life. You’ve been riding the nut-sac of this god-awful piece of shit for some time, but you’ve really outdone yourself with this review. Sorry, but after this, any reviews you may write in the future are suspect, at best. Certainly seems shady…

      • Sirand

        Wow. That comment is in no way like all the other douchebag waste-of-space posts that clog the internet on a daily basis.

        Well played, sir! You’re truly a subversive master of the written word!

        • The Buz

          I thought his word usage was above average.

      • Uncle Creepy

        Oh, it’s totally shady. I’m found out. You know all this business about liking a movie for years before it was linked with any studio or anyone even barely hearing about it. Then actually writing a positive review of it when it hits DVD and Blu-ray to boot?!?!? I’m obviously evil and have a slanted perspective on things. The jig is officially up. Thanks for playing.

    • nonserviam03

      god damn it, I was hoping for some better special features

    • Uncle Creepy

      Oh, and as for the Fan Appreciating Credits roll? It’s there but it flies by at speeds in excess of mach three. Thank god for pause and slow motion!

      • Eibon

        Where exactly are these? I checked out the theatrical cut on the DVD and all I saw were the names of the actors, producer and director. Are these only on the alternate cut, or did I miss them all together?

        • Uncle Creepy

          I had to hit “Next” after the movie ended. They then came up.

    • The Woman In Black

      I can’t believe this day has finally come and we actually have the “real” version of the movie in our hot little hands!

    • fceurich39

      cool will pick this movie up too and too bad the special features really suck hopefully the alternate ending is the slit throat one and is both versions of the movie on the dvd on one side not one of those flipper discs

      • Uncle Creepy

        “hopefully the alternate ending is the slit throat one”

        ;)

        • Didn’t See It Coming

          OK cool. Because the other ending I saw was terrible.