Good horror films – and by that I mean the sorts of chillers that burrow their way into your psyche and genuinely leave you disturbed and sleepless – are difficult to let go. You know what I mean: An exclusive passel of horror films such as The Blair Witch Project, The Robert Wise version of The Haunting, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and It Follows inhabit those dark areas within ourselves where our deepest nightmares spring from and, if we’re very lucky, they never stop scaring us, never stop compelling us to sleep with all lights a-blazin.’ This is true even when – Saints preserve us – we’re “treated” to such sequels to our beloved nightmares as 1976’s Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist 2: The Heretic. The existence of inferior follow-ups doesn’t diminish at all the original films, but it does serve to bog down with excessive barnacle new stories going forward in such long popular franchises as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween.
One of the films from the much maligned horror genre that I count as a Top Ten in my all-time favorite creepy and crawly movie department is director Oren Peli’s 2009 little gem Paranormal Activity. Ripping a page out of the so-called Found Footage genre, this fright-fest laid out a simple yet effective yarn: a couple begin to experience things in their home that lead them to believe it may be haunted. They set up a stationary bedroom camera and record what happens in the room while they sleep. What happens next is a spiraling series of events that resembles nothing less than a runaway rollercoaster from hell. That’s it; that’s all. There are no $200 million dollar CGI shots to coerce our senses into believing that this is indeed the unluckiest couple since James Brolin and Margot Kidder set up residence in a little town called Amityville. Instead, sans bells and whistles, we’re treated to a taut script with well-developed characters and it’s the absence at times of anything happening that is sometimes way more unsettling than a Jan de Bont and DreamWorks computer manufactured specter.
Paranormal Activity chugged along after the success of the original film for five more movies, each entry becoming a little less scary than the one before it until it finally – forgive the pun – the franchise gave up the ghost with 2015’s middling finale Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. Its lasting legacy might be that it’s the film that put Blumhouse Productions on the map, a position that has only strengthened and solidified in the five years the series has lain dormant. That obituary for Peli’s masterpiece may be a little premature, however…
Through the good devices of our friends over at the ever-lovin’ Bloody Disgusting, word has passed down the line that Paranormal Activity is primed for a March 4, 2022 comeback, for good or for ill.
Scribe Christopher Landon who wrote four of the Paranormal Activity sequels along with popular horror-time travel spoof Happy Death Day has been contracted to write the new installment in the series. As of this moment there are no story beats that have leaked online and there’s not even an official title for the project. But we do have one key piece of information and it’s from Landon himself. During a conversation with the Beyond Hip crew over at Dread Central, Landon revealed that he was “writing the new Paranormal Activity movie; we’re rebooting that franchise. I’m super-excited about the director, but I can’t say who it is because they won’t let me. He’s a get. He’s awesome!”
The tight-lipped writer added that “I think people are going to be really surprised by where we’re taking this thing.”
We’ll keep eyes and ears on alert for more news on this upcoming reboot of Paranormal Activity even as we furtively stroke our collective monkey’s paw and hope for a return to basic scares that stays a country mile away from ill-advised sequels such as Jaws: The Revenge or Lost Boys: The Tribe.