It’s taken 10 years for a credible follow-up to The Blair Witch Project (1999) suggesting that the ‘realist’ generic innovation doesn’t really work with horror; however, Paranormal Activity is an interesting addition to the horror canon though whether the forthcoming sequel can escape the fate of the Blair Witch follow-up remains to be seen.
[Rec] (Spain, 2007) also utilises the this-is-really happening trope, however it’s framed as a TV report and so lacks the ‘unadulterated’ access to reality of home video. It’s interesting that so little in Paranormal Activity can be spun out into so much; emphasising that what’s not seen (but often heard) is the most frightening. It’s good to see a less than svelte female in the lead (though whether I should actually note that point is debateable) and anyone who can ‘buy into’ horror hokum (I include myself) should find this er… enjoyable.
Bechdel test: Pass (13/8)
Protagonist: Male (6/11)*
Lacey test: Pass (0/3)
*This is debateable as Katie is the central character, however in narrative terms she is passive (until the end); Micah is the one who tries to affect events.