Six Reasons Why The Paranormal Activity Films Have Been So Successful


The final entry in the Paranormal Activity franchise is in cinemas everywhere today; the sixth movie is the hit series promises answers galore for its terrifying last chapter. Few modern horror franchises have made such a lasting impact on the genre, with that in mind we take a look at the six reasons why Paranormal Activity has endured.

6) Low Budgets

While it might be crass to discuss the financials, there is no escaping that the low production budgets have aided Paranormal Activity in being a success. The first movie was produced for just $15,000, and the most expensive sequel was made for $5 million. Since the release of the first movie, producer Jason Blum has forged a successful business model going on to make the likes of Insidious, Sinister, and The Purge.

5) Suspense Over Gore

I think it’s fair to say that we are all a bit afraid of what goes bump in the night, we have all woken up in the dead of night with the feeling that we’re not alone (or is it just me?). Unlike the blood-soaked excesses of Saw or Hostel, Paranormal Activity plays a smarter game to evoke terror in its audience. The unexplained and the supernatural are way more unnerving than a puppet on a tricycle, and it is always scarier to let your mind fill in the blanks opposed to seeing brutality in every frame.

4) Shareable Scares

There is no escaping the fact that we live in the digital age, and it has changed out we engage with and consume all forms of content. As hard as it is to believe, it has only been a few years since Hollywood has adopted this powerful marketing tool as the norm. Paranormal Activity was one of the first horror movies to embrace fully social media, daring its audience to go and see it.

3) Found A Fresh Way To Use Found-Footage

Found footage movies can be hit and miss, there is only so much shaky camera work and plausible explanations for filming any one movie can take. The framing device of setting up security cameras around the house solved this problem neatly. Ever since The Blair Witch Project convinced half its audience that is was real, movie studios have been looking for a way to capture people’s imagination.

On the slightly negative side, Paranormal Activity did kick the doors open for a bunch similar projects and we have been inundated with found-footage horror movies for years. Regardless of the copycats, there is no denying that Paranormal Activity made found footage relevant again.

2) Focuses On Relatable Characters

It may not seem like a key factor, but let me explain. All the main characters in the Paranormal Activity franchise are white collar everyday folk; this allows audiences to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonist. Nothing makes a movie scarier than the singular belief that this could happen to you. Many modern horrors either rely on well-known stars or brand recognition for its success. Paranormal Activity has always put its story over star-power the fact they have been so successful without any A-list cast is a further testament to the franchise’s enduring popularity.

1) Drip Feeds The Story

An eye on future sequels was given careful consideration from the start as the writers have being drip feeding us the expansive story across six movies. In the same way the Saw franchise teased its increasingly convoluted story over multiple sequels, Paranormal Activity has revealed more and more of the backstory as we have progressed. Unlike Saw, Paranormal Activity’s plot across the sequels fits together, and the 2014 spin-off (The Marked Ones) even answered hanging questions from the first movie.

Paranormal Activity The Ghost Dimension is out now in UK cinemas.

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