I had the privilege a couple of years ago to see the original film festival version of Paranormal Activity. It was written and directed by Oren Peli as an independent film, and shown on a big screen for the first time at a film festival in 2007. I borrowed the DVD from a friend and was able to watch it with my boyfriend , curled up and cozy on the couch. What struck me first was the way it was filmed. It had a very personal feel and was like watching someone's homemade movie. After having some time to get to know the happy couple, the suspense starts to build. Strange things happen during the night, and it all seems to be centered around the girlfriend, Katie, played by Katie Featherston. With the boyfriend, Micah, played by Micah Sloat, trying to catch the activity on a handheld Sony camcorder. By the end of the movie both my boyfriend and I were hiding our heads every time night time hit, nervous of what we'd see next.
For those of you out there that have only seen the Paramount version, just know that the only notable difference between the Independent and Hollywood film versions is the ending. However, it was a big enough difference to cause my boyfriend and I to pause. We felt the original ending was much more suspenseful and couldn't figure out why it had been changed, but the reason for the change was quickly made apparent when we heard a sequel was being released, done in true Hollywood style. Leaving the end of the first movie open as they did, was the only way to lead in to a second movie.
Paranormal Activity 2 was directed by Tod Williams, written by Michael R. Perry, and was released to the public in October 2010. After seeing the second movie I was impressed. I don't usually have high hopes for sequels, but this one proved me wrong. It was actually not a true sequel however, for the events of the 2nd film were happening during the events of the first. This might seem confusing to some but for the movies, it worked. They also kept the main actors from the first film, which as a viewer makes me extremely happy. Added to the already dynamic duo from the first film was Katie's sister, Kristi (played by Sprague Grayden), Kristi's boyfriend, Dan (played by Brian Boland), Dan's infant son, Hunter, and the family house keeper/nanny, Martine (played by Vivis Cortez). It had all of the suspense and filming allure of the first one; leaving us shaking and wanting more at the end. Ask and you shall receive!!
Paranormal Activity 3 was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman and released in October 2011. This one is a prequel to the first and second movie. Taking us back to when Kristi and Katie were young and were first introduced to the demon that follows them throughout their adult years. I was truly looking forward to this movie. I thought it would not only answer a lot of questions stemming from the first two films, but it seemed like it would make a great addition to the Paranormal Activity world. As it turns out however, by the end of the movie I was extremely disappointed. Not only did the movie not live up to the hype or my extremely high hopes, it also didn't follow the events mentioned in the previous two movies, and it ended with it all being about witchcraft. That was a little too cliche for my taste, so I ended up walking out feeling extremely let down.