Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 532 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: After a young, middle class couple moves into what seems like a typical suburban “starter” tract house, they become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be somehow demonic but is certainly most active in the middle of the night. (Paramount Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. With its this-is-really-happening vibe, Paranormal Activity scrapes away 30 years of encrusted nightmare clichés. The fear is real, all right, because the fear is really in you.
  2. 83
    The film loses some of its grimy verisimilitude toward the end, but it’s nevertheless a surprisingly effective low-budget shocker with a sensibility as current as the latest viral videos, yet rooted in the suggestive, less-is-more atmospherics of Val Lewton.
  3. 80
    Grounded by strong performances by newcomers Featherston and Sloat, who pretty much have the movie to themselves, Paranormal Activity, which demands to be seen in a crowded theater, is refreshingly blood-free.
  4. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    An impressive, not entirely successful exercise in minimalist filmmaking.
  5. I’ve never seen a movie that so cunningly exploits our anticipation.
  6. Reviewed by: Kevin Lally
    "Paranormal" ultimately does deliver in a way that "Blair Witch" never did, but its achingly slow buildup is a test not just of an audience's patience but the power of hype surrounding the latest alternative scary movie.
  7. 0
    Don't believe the hype: Paranormal Activity may be a lot of things, but the words "scary" and "movie" are not among them. It is instead nothing more or less than an excruciatingly tedious YouTube gag cleverly marketed to go viral in the broadest and most box office-friendly way.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. KyleH
    Jan 4, 2010
    If you think Saw is the greatest horror series of our decade, this movie isn't for you. If you think a horror movie has to have blood, gore, and in your face action then this movie isn't for you. If you think Inglorious Bastards was nothing but boring dialog, then this movie is not for you. If you enjoy movies that are based on building suspense then you will love this movie. If you're tired of all the crappy remakes that are plaguing the horror genre (Friday the 13th, The Stepfather, Halloween, etc.) then you will find this movie refreshing. Expand
  2. ZachL
    Oct 25, 2009
    Scariest movie I have ever seen, regardless of what others say. Yes, it does just build for ninety minutes, but SO DOES EVERY OTHER MOVIE EVER MADE! Go see this movie, you will not be disappointed. Expand
  3. SamH
    Jan 17, 2010
    This movie is scary. I don't care what people think. It is truly scary. It's not the typical, gory killer thrasher movie that we're used to. No, the scare of this movie is all psychological. The fear of some unknown being lurking around haunting someone for years is the exact thing that scared me to death when I was a little girl. The fact that you can't see it makes the movie even scarier. The movie was made to look real, just like previous movies such as Cloverfield and Quarantine. Some believed it was real. And when it got out that it wasn't, I heard many people say it wasn't scary anymore. Now, I don't understand this. Why can't the movie itself be scary without it being real? It's also true that very few scary parts happen in the movie. This is to add to the fear of anticipating more things to happen, and goes on along with the underlying meaning of the movie plot. Plus, it adds to the real feeling of the movie. Expand
  4. Oct 21, 2011
    For a very low budgeted film, Paranormal Activity proves to be a great horror film. Though the film has no story, but it still has great horror themes.
    Good Horror themes
    Weak Dialogue No Story
  5. Jun 10, 2013
    This movie was lame and bad. The sequels are much better and scarier. This film didn't offer to me nothing and it's a pity as the story is well-written. I think it's similar to the blair witch project. Not a horror film. I don't understand again the critic's reviews Expand
  6. DavidB
    Oct 13, 2009
    Sooo boring.
  7. Eric
    Oct 10, 2009
    This movie is slow moving, low budget version of the Blair Witch Project. Let down on all levels... Save your money. This movie is a rental at best.

See all 297 User Reviews