“Paranormal Activity” is one of the most popular horror hits of recent years – the reasons for its popularity are anyone’s guess, but it probably has to do with its potent blend of several key ingredients: Slow, subtle horror rather than the outright shocks of something like the “Saw” series and a hip “found footage” gimmick are probably the two most obvious. So if you’re in the mood for more movies with that general flavor, you’ve come to the right place – here are five movies that are at least a little bit like “Paranormal Activity.”
The subtle brand of horror that makes “Paranormal Activity” work so well was born (or at least perfected) in Robert Wise’s “The Haunting.” Instead of a haunted house with a lot of ghosts and murder, most of the scares in “The Haunting” are no more complex than a weird sound in the middle of the night, or a strange jolting of the walls. And most people know that those are the scariest things of all.
“The Blair Witch Project”
Although this horror movie doesn’t have the best reputation in the world since its phenom-like release back in 1999. But it’s the progenitor of the faux-documentary-style horror movie that “Paranormal Activity” represents, and if you can get past all the “SNL“-parodied moments it’s still a pretty scary movie. They’re both fake documentaries -what else do you want?
Speaking of horror faux-documentaries, this is another good one that also features a demonic villain like “Paranormal Activity.” Also like “Paranormal Activity,” it starts out in almost a humorous vein, following a charlatan preacher as he seeks to perform an “exorcism” in order to prove the whole enterprise is a sham. Unfortunately, the possessed girl he comes across to make this point might actually be possessed. Good for business, bad for safety.
One thing that gives “Paranormal Activity” a unique flavor is that the horror doesn’t ramp up to its maximum point until almost the end, so the audience isn’t even sure anything supernatural is really happening until it’s almost over. This is a quality it shares with “The Omen,” which could almost be interpreted as not having anything supernatural in it at all, if you can buy a lot of terrifying coincidences.
It’s no coincidence that the filmmaking team behind the documentary “Catfish” was brought in to direct “Paranormal Activity 3.” “Catfish,” despite supposedly depicting real events, is about as creepy and suspenseful as a movie NOT involving demons can get. The documentary follows an online romance between an artist and a young girl – who turns out to be a little different than she’s presented herself to be. And by “a little” we mean “infinitely.”