Taking its cue from films such as The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity may not be the first low-budget horror movie to use the hand-held camera technique, but that doesn't stop it working to terrifying effect.
Set in an apparently normal suburban house, save for a couple of scenes the only characters in the film are a young couple – Katie, who believes she has been haunted since she was a child, and her boyfriend Micah. He is the one who buys a video camera to see if they can discover what is actually happening while they sleep, and it is this footage which the film consists of. Paranormal Activity was reportedly filmed for a mere $15,000 (£9.5k), and director Oren Peli does a wonderful job of ensuring the movie's cheap look works in its favour. The tension is built as each night's mysterious events – which get increasingly sinister – are filmed while the couple are asleep, meaning that when the real frights do come you will already be a nervous wreck. Playing their namesakes, Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat (both previously unknowns) do a great job of portraying a couple that go from being in youthful love to close to insanity, but the true star is the unseen spirit that petrifies them, and – if you are of a nervous disposition – will do the same to you.