For a film that cost only $15,000 to make Paranormal Activity is piling up reviews that are generally as enthusiastic as box-office proceeds have been flourishing. Moving into a few hundred theaters today, the film is being called "ingenious" by the likes of Roger Ebert. "So well made, it's truly scary," he remarks. Without a chain-saw-wielding villain or expensive special effects, the movie "worms its way under our skin like a creepy parasite," writes Claudia Puig in USA Today. Peter Hartlaub in the San Francisco Chronicle figures that the $15,000 budget benefited the production. "In the end," he writes, "the budget seems about perfect. It turns out that a really cheap film and a filmgoer with a good imagination is more than enough for a scary and entertaining night at the movies." On the other hand, A.O. Scott in the New York Times dismisses it as "a crudely made, half-clever little frightener that has become something of a pop-culture sensation and most certainly the movie marketing story of the year."

09/10/2009