User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 517 Ratings

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  1. Aug 16, 2010
    9
    the scariest film i have watched. scarier than blair witch, and the only film to ACTUALLY scare me. if you liked blair witch, you'll like this. its a film everyone should see. a TRUE horror, not like the grudge, or those excuse-of-a-horror films they seem to be releasing more and more often nowdays.
  2. Oct 29, 2010
    9
    Paranormal Activity, the film that touted itself as the best-of-it's-breed, the scariest of the "first-person film" genre, actually doesn't do a half-bad job. It's definitely scary (if the sound of the footsteps walking up the stairs in the dead of night doesn't fill you with dread, nothing will) and it's both fun and terrifying watching the escalation of what happens throughout the movie. People obviously hate it, and people obviously love it. I was on the loving side. For the first time ever in this genre, I look forward to what the sequel can bring to the table. Expand
  3. Sep 1, 2010
    10
    Certainly a polarizing movie, as other posters have noted. For those with vivid imaginations, this movie is a rare treat; what is left unshown is what scares you. I give this movie a 9 because it is the first movie to actually scare me in some time. True, the bickering yuppie couple cn be annoying at times, but the tension that is carefully built throughout the movie more than makes up for this. Also, to those who didn't like the ending (I'm one of them): I have read that the ending was a concession to producers or distributers. The director intended something else. Expand
  4. Oct 12, 2010
    9
    Though this movie has been called nothing more than just a piece of great marketing. I happen to believe that like the Blair Witch Project in 1999, PA scares you... and keeps you scared. I was kind of disturbed by the ending, but its a horror movie, and couldnt expect a happy ending. Though the people in this film were actors, you cant help but to think about the actual accounts that inspired the movie. Expand
  5. Apr 29, 2011
    9
    Paranormal Activity, the film that touted itself as the best-of-it's-breed, the scariest of the "first-person film" genre, actually doesn't do a half-bad job. It's definitely scary (if the sound of the footsteps walking up the stairs in the dead of night doesn't fill you with dread, nothing will) and it's both fun and terrifying watching the escalation of what happens throughout the movie. People obviously hate it, and people obviously love it. I was on the loving side. For the first time ever in this genre, I look forward to what the sequel can bring to the table. Expand
  6. Jun 19, 2011
    9
    A great horror film. It is clearly a low budget, and they work with that. The demon is always off screen, and they never even try to show it, something that works fantastically here. I do not know what it is, but something in this film is terrifying. Maybe it isn't the demon at all, and it is the actors reactions to what is happening. Whatever it may be, Paranormal Activity works, and it delivers. Expand
  7. Jun 20, 2011
    10
    This movie did what I expected: scare my butt off! Idk why the reviews from the users are so low. This is totally worth it. Something I would like to watch again.
  8. Oct 13, 2011
    9
    One of the best I've seen. The opening was a bit boring for me. But I liked how it had no "boo!" kind of scene which I find very silly. The way the movie gets creepier slowly overtime gave me goosebumps. And it's also one of few horror movie that got me gasping. Beautifully done.
  9. Oct 16, 2011
    10
    Paranormal Activity is smart, scary, suspenseful and surprisingly funny! It builds up the big finish but along the way to it, there's a bit of "Oh, what the f**k!" or "Did that just happened?" This films proves that there's no need for any horrid creature to be generated on computers but a creative story and your imagination. So, think of this as a rollercoaster ride!
  10. Nov 17, 2011
    9
    Paranormal Activity is a freaky movie, the movie will likely scare the crap out of you. The movie is shot with a cheap camera with a small budget but it is still very scary. The plot is well done but not the greatest, the acting of the characters is great but the thing about Paranormal Activity is that it's scares are actually very creepy. After watching this you will be afraid of your own house for a while. The flaws are that the plot can get clunky at times and the dialogue can be somewhat moronic at times but that's all right. Overall Paranormal Activity is a great movie that will scare the life out of you, there are flaws that stop it from acheiving greatness but it is still a worth watch. It is by far the scariest movie I have seen. Breakdown for "Paranormal Activity": Presentation: 9.0, Plot: 8.5, Acting: 8, Dialogue: 8, Lasting Appeal: 9. Score: 8.5 out of 10 "Great" Expand
  11. Aug 19, 2012
    9
    When you see this movie, you will see how unimportant sleep is. Although parts of this movie are freaking scary, other parts just come off as lame. Overall the acting is very good, but most scares just come off as suspense.
  12. May 7, 2012
    10
    I don't get how people can dislike this movie. It wasn't a predictable horror movie, you know where girls be tripping in the woods and crap. This movie legitimately made me jump numerous times. Not something most horror movies can do to me.
  13. Jul 4, 2012
    10
    Paranormal Activity is a very scary movie. The simplicity of it just makes it even scarier, the fact that some scenes where you can't see what's really happening, your mind tries to imagine and it freaks you out, but when you get to see creepy stuff, like the ENDING of the movie you won't be able to sleep through at least THREE DAYS. It contains some jump scares, it breaks the tension of it's audience and DON'T WATCH IT alone or with the LIGHTS OFF. Expand
  14. Jul 14, 2012
    9
    Proves that the silence, the darkness, the sense of dread in films is scarier than any monster movie, or any horror that shows the ghost/demon. In the whole time that I have watched films I've never been so on edge over what may happen next, there is probably more silence than speech in this film, but how scared you actually are takes away from that. The positioning of the camera is perfect, letting us basically everything occurring in the house in one shot. But the scariest part of this film by a mile is the aftermath of watching, the psychological fear playing on your mind as you try to sleep and begin to panic, when I fall asleep what next? It really is a film that you won't forget, it may not be perfect in scripting or acting , but it will go down as one of the scariest films in history. Expand
  15. Sep 27, 2012
    9
    For most people, this film falls into one of two categories: slow, boring and unimaginative or absolutely terrifying. I found myself falling into the latter category. For me, this film kept my attention throughout. Filmed a little like 'The Blair Witch Project', it has an air of realism about it that other, CGI orientated films often fail to provide. However, if you prefer fast pacing and more 'in your face' thrills, then this film is not for you. It is undoubtedly fairly slow in terms of introducing the horror; several nights go by when very little, if anything, is 'caught' on camera and things which are caught are small and easy to miss altogether. As the film progresses, the activity picks up but it still does not fall into the 'horror' genre in the traditional sense. I found this film absolutely terrifying for the same reason that I can get scared by books: the horror aspects are not explicitly thrust into your face but instead are left to your imagination, and in this sense, 'Paranormal Activity' is psychologically disturbing without the 'jump out of your skin' moments you get from other horrors. I found the pace of the film perfect for what it was trying to achieve, suspense, which in my opinion is what this film does best. You are never shown exactly what it is that's meant to be haunting the couple which, for many, is the worst part simply because it is then left entirely up to you to create an image in your mind or to predict its next action. Thus, if you happen to possess an over active imagination, chances are this film will make you terrified of anything that goes bump in the night for several days after watching it.

    The reason this film did not quite get 10/10 from me is firstly because I absolutely hate alternative endings. I think a film should have, and stick to, one ending so the fact that this film has 2-3 (can't remember exactly...) I really don't like. Also, there is a message at the beginning of the film claiming that it is entirely police footage, something else that I find particularly irritating. Very few people are dim enough to believe that that statement has any basis in reality whatsoever before you even begin to question the logic behind our emergency services releasing footage for entertainment purposes. It's something that's been done several times before and it immediately puts the film into that 'oh look, shaky home video footage, how exciting' category before the first scene has even began. But taking those fairly minor points aside, this film is definitely worth a watch and far superior to the second and third film.
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  16. Apr 24, 2013
    9
    This movie is good, it does deliver scares, and i'm still obsessing with it, and while i watch the movie, i did jump out of the chair sometimes. So it is worth to watch, despite a little bit boring beginning
  17. Jan 19, 2014
    10
    in short, Paranormal Activity is simply a terrifyingly ingenious roller coaster of a film that proves that horror films are far better when less overdone and more simple.
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    80
    Beyond the viral ingenuity of the marketing, what's cool about PA is that it's not just a fun thrill ride; it's an instructive artistic experience. A horror-movie revisionist, Peli follows a less-is-more strategy.
  2. I’ve never seen a movie that so cunningly exploits our anticipation.
  3. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    75
    An impressive, not entirely successful exercise in minimalist filmmaking.