Paranormal Activity decoding a successful film model
As I have already mentiones in my previous articles about Paranormal Activity films, the initial film of Oren Peli “Paranormal Activity, 2007” has started one of the most successful film franchises in history of cinema. There is a large number of articles online about Paranormal Films most of them try to describe the plot structure of films and issues about production and commercial success of the films.
In my opinion the most significant is to start a the key points of success. To search and explore the filmmakinmg tips that have change the film industry after 2007. Obviously after the Paranormal Activity film we life a new wave of “found footage” horror films. Actually is the largest film production wave after the first found footage film “Cannibals Holocaust” (Rugerro Deodato, 1980) and the late 90’s phenomenon “Blair Witch Project”(Daniel Myrik, Eduardo Sanches). Paranormal Activity redefined the found footage genre after a period of slashers and torture horror films.
So, by studying the Paranormal Activity films I believe it is valuable to decode and highlight the key points and elements of success of Paranormal Activity films.
Decoding the plot structure of Paranormal Activity films
The plot structure of film is based on the most used, tested and successful plot structure of horror films - a group of ordinary people (in the case of Paranormal Activity a family) are trapped in an unusual situation against a deadly, unstoppable and unbeatable force. They have to fight back if they want to survive.
1. The Vilain in Paranormal Activity
Since the beginning of our word and especially through holly scripts that humanity has to fight the supernatural weird creatures “demons, ghosts, evil spirits etc”. In the case of Paranormal Activity - Oren Peli very cleverly uses as villain the most dangerous, evil and deadly supernatural villain - a demon.
2. Unique point of view - Believability rather than camera work
Paranormal Activity has a different point of view as a film. The plot structure is presented to audience through hidden cameras, security cameras, video chats etc. Oren Peli wanted his audience to believe the story, to feel the demon and finally fear after the end of the film. As I know the first film maker who used this technique is the Japanese Takashi Kinato, who filmed the scene of a bank robbery using a security camera.
3. The villain is believable in Paranormal Activity
They use to say “sometimes lays are more believable than truth”. Obviously Oren Peli studied and searched relative issues about paranormal, supernatural and demons. As a result the mythology of the demon in Paranormal Activity is built step by step by presenting firstly the results of the demon’s actions (sounds), then by presenting the more results (open doors, TV turn off etc) and finally by presenting the violent part of demonic presence. It’s a villain from the supernatural world, we can see him only through the result of his actions and the human reaction to his action.
4. Paranormal Activity follows the Alfred Hitchcock’s model
The villain in Paranormal Activity is a “demon” a deadly, vil and aggressive supernatural creature. Audience can not see it, the villain is introduced step by step and very slowly. Actually this technique to not present to audience the villain directly was introduced by legendary British filmmaker Sir Alfred Hitchcock. The most significant example of this approach is the film Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960), Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975), Duel (Steven Spielberg, 1971).
5. The plot structure of Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity follows the most used and the most successful plot structure for horror films - a group of people is trapped into an unexplained situation and they are under the attack of an unexplained, aggressive and unknown force. In Paranormal Activity we have a family and the force is a demon. This model is used almost in all horror films as examples I can mention Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978), Friday the 13th (Sean Cunningham, 1980) etc
to be continued
Paranormal Activity - Wikipedia
Paranormal Activity 2 - Internet Movie Database
Paranormal Activity 3
Paranormal Activity Official
I need to mention that this article tries to provide information to reader using all the available data on the day of its publishing. New information and data for this subject and issue are published every day. It’s been highly recommended to the reader to search on Google for more information. World is moving searching is the driving force. Searching is the source of inspiration and the source of truth.