1. IT’S A SUPER-LOW-BUDGET HORROR MOVIE.
First-time writer-director Oren Peli shot Paranormal Activity, which hits theaters in limited release Sept. 25, for a paltry $11,000 in a single week in his San Diego home.
2. THE MOVIE TAPS INTO A PRIMAL FEAR.
What happens when we go to sleep? A young couple (newcomers Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) suspect an evil force is taunting them. So they set up a video camera near their bed and record while they sleep. The night-vision is creepy, then terrifying.
3. HORROR GEEKS LOVE IT.
Festival screenings in 2007 and 2008 created superlative-filled buzz. After months without word of a release date, impatient geeks vented online: ”Finding bin Laden is easier than being able to watch this movie!”
4. YOU CAN THANK STEVEN SPIELBERG FOR THE ENDING.
In 2008, DreamWorks (then part of Paramount) picked up Paranormal intending to remake it as a star vehicle, but a triumphant test screening of Peli’s version rescued the movie. Even Steven Spielberg loved the film — though he suggested a new ending. ”It plays better than the original ending,” says Peli. ”Most people say it’s one of the scariest parts of the movie.”
5. YOU MAY HAVE TO LOBBY TO SEE IT.
Paramount plans to unveil Paranormal Activity at midnight screenings on Sept. 25 in just 13 college towns, where, the studio hopes, young filmgoers will turn it into a Twitter and Facebook sensation. Other horror fans can request that the movie come to their hometowns via Demand it!, an online tool accessible on paranormalactivity-movie.com. ”It’s all about engaging [the fans],” says Megan Colligan, Paramount’s co-president of marketing. ”If it grows into something bigger than a cult classic, it’ll be based on the affection of people who see it.” Let the nightmares begin.