The direct-to-video Paranormal Entity is an obvious knock-off of the theatrically released Paranormal Activity, but it’s still a pretty good movie. This is yet another one of those “found footage” movies where it is all shot with home cameras. The story here is about a supernatural something or other that terrorizes a family after the father passes away.
There are no opening or closing credits to this movie, which is kind of creepy. Instead, it starts out with a text block that says a man was convicted of killing his sister and a doctor in the home. It then opens with an interview explaining that weird things have been happening in the house and the family wants to set up cameras to document everything. The man who would eventually be the killer is who sets up the cameras and also helps narrate things. What follows is a series of weird events that begins with scary noises and then turns violent. However, you already know what’s going to happen because it says so right from the start.
Only four actors appear in this movie. Shane Van Dyke, who also wrote and directed this, plays the lead as well as narrator since he’s holding the camera most of the time. Erin Marie Hogan is a much more attractive lead that the girl in Paranormal Activity. She also does a couple of topless scenes in this movie, so watch out. Fia Perera plays the mom here and has the most emotional scenes whereas the sister mainly just screams a lot. The last character is a doctor (Norman Saleet) who is only in the movie for a couple of minutes. These movies always seem to have some kind of paranormal expect who comes in to explain things a bit before something bad happens to them.
I thought this had some pretty good scares in it. The whole thing is formulaic as hell, like how characters start sleepwalking and doing odd things, plus there was plenty of door slamming and the like. It plays like a low budget remake with a lot of the same things happening, like the covers being pulled off a bed while someone is sleeping. It does make good use of having things happen off camera with only audible clues to indicate what is going on. This is often way more effective than trying to rely on props and special effects.
While I was watching this, I thought something about the house looked weird. I then found a thread on IMDb.com where some people were discussing the house and how it was obviously a model home. It had such minimal set decoration that the house didn’t look lived in at all. There are sparse decorations and it just lacked detail. Since you spend a lot of the movie looking at walls while hearing the sounds of pounding and stomping, you may start to notice how it doesn’t look like a real lived-in home.
In the end, Paranormal Entity is still worth seeing if you like paranormal horror movies. It’s an obvious ripoff of the more popular movie, but different enough that you might get a thrill out of watching it. I expected it to be a lot worse.
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