I have a soft spot for this one. I confess: it scared the hell out of me. And isn't that kind of the point? It won't work for everyone and I'm a firm believer that ratings for this movie are hard to dissociate from the viewers' different levels of susceptibility."Quality" (debatable, obviously) found footage horror has always managed to get under my skin. And to me, this serves its purpose.
An effective, empty, one-trick pony of a "movie". It's remarkable how successful this movie (I refuse to call this a 'film') was given it's zero dollar budget, non-experienced actors, and one location ten day shoot. Cheap thrills can only get you so far. What does this say about Oren Peli's as a director? Nothing. It's a novel concept that is pushed to its limits and can barely sustain it's short 86 minute run time.
Contesting number 3 for my favourite in the series, the first PA film benefitted greatly from taking tips from the Blair Witch Project– featuring a lot of natural (improvised) dialogue and genuinely scared actors. The low budget forced the creators to seriously consider their scares, to a much better effect than in the sequels. Some story inconsistency is there in terms of the sequels, but it's not overly jarring.
A good horror film, from the times when the formula of watching lost video footage was still (kind of) fresh. It's not a bad idea at all, fits well the "haunted house" setting. Plenty of still and silent scenes which are genuinely tense and scary. Unfortunately, it slowly becomes a routine (noises, footsteps at night), the atmosphere takes a nosedive, becoming rather silly towards the end, not to mention the ending.
A clever, well written film boasting effective sound design and two enjoyably naturalistic performances from it's leads. These virtues do not, however, save it from being a rather underwhelming movie (although I acknowledge that it might have been considerably more effective in the cinema).