Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli could never have imagined he'd be calling Movie Fanatic to talk about the release of Paranormal Activity 4 when he first made the original film. "It’s pretty nutty," Peli said.
"It changed my life 180-degrees because before the movie came out I was working in my day job that I really hated. Because of the success of the movie, I was able to quit and no longer have to deal with my stupid day job. I just wanted to be involved in movies and work with great talented producers, writers, directors and actors and have a lot of fun."
As Paranormal Activity 4 storms onto DVD and Blu-Ray, Peli admitted that it was nice to finally fully explore all the modern technology that would make a found footage film truly fantastic... something we salute in our Paranormal Activity 4 review.
"That was something we were thinking about before making Paranormal Activity 4 is the advantage for having the movie taking place in modern times," Peli said. "Because with Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2, we were still in the same timeframe, and when we did the third one, we were limited to whatever would be the latest and greatest technology in the late 1980’s -- it was very limited," Peli said. "Now, for the first time we can be in 2011 and we could take advantage of video chat, laptops and Kinect to justify how and why we are featuring the footage."
As shown off in the Paranormal Activity 4 trailer, the question audiences ask about why someone would be filming something that we could "find" is made mute. "Now, we as a society are almost always filming something -- so it feels like it is coming naturally," Peli said.
"Computers with the software that can be installed, they can be on all the time. It became a lot easier to show 'found' footage. It makes even more sense that we have all the footage shot in the house. Plus, with the Kinect, it allowed us to create a new visual style that was in a creepy way and to show stuff that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to without that technology."
Peli told us that when he made the first film, he had no idea there would be more Paranormal stories. "It didn’t even occur to me there could be a sequel. I would have just been happy to see the first one in theaters," he said.
When he made the second one, he then became focused on building the basis of a mythology. "Because the second did well, we were set up to do the third one. Then we built out the mythology, the blueprint that we have for the fourth one and for whatever may come next. We now have the mythology!"
He can't share whether there is a fifth in the works or anything about it for that matter, but he does light up when we ask what fans tell him above all else why they adore this franchise so much.
"There are two main elements. I think one of the things why it clicks with people is the style -- the found footage format and the terrific actors that we always have in the movies. People say stuff like, 'I knew it was fake… but it felt real.' That makes people get sucked into the world. With a found footage movie, it’s easier to suspend the disbelief. You can get sucked into it," Peli said.
"The other thing that people respond to is we’re not holding the movie in a remote location somewhere, like an ancient castle. It takes place in someone’s home. Just like your home. It’s just like in your house when you’re asleep. It’s something people can relate to, hearing a noise in the middle of the night and the feeling of vulnerability of how you feel when you fall asleep. You don’t know: Is there something here with me? Is there some invisible, evil entity that I can’t see? And even if I could, there’s nothing I can do about it when I’m asleep! It taps into universal primal fears that everyone can identify with."