The Paranormal Activity franchise is still going strong with no fewer than two new films in the series due for release next year. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, due out in January, is a spin off based around a Catholic investigation into supernatural events while Paranormal Activity 5 will be targeted at the Hallowe’en market and continues the story of the first four films.
The long running series features so-called ‘found footage’, film taken during the events of the story and presented as if they actually occurred. However, many other films have used the story telling technique, with mixed results. Here’s a selection of some of the better ones.
5. The Last Exorcism
As its name would suggest, The Last Exorcism, tells the story of the last exorcism performed by a disillusioned minister who has been performing exorcisms for years. In all that time, he has yet to encounter a genuine case of possession, so he invites cameras to follow him one last time as he exposes the fraud he’s been involved in perpetuating for all those years. How unfortunate – and convenient – it is when it turns out that this last case is real.
Posters advertising the film caused some controversy in the UK with its depiction of a girl in a bloody dress bent over a crucifix. There were a number of complaints and the Advertising Standards Agency ruled that the image couldn’t be used openly due to the lack of control over who would be exposed to it; however it was still permissible to show it on the back of magazines.
Although it’s no Blair Witch Project, one of the most famous found footage films, The Last Exorcism was well received and a sequel was subsequently made, following Nell (Ashley Bell), the possessed girl in the first film, picking up where the first story left off. It doesn’t use the found footage format, returning to a more traditional type of filmmaking.