2. Background Information
• ‘Paranormal Activity 4 was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman.
• It was produced by Jason Blum and Oren Peli.
• The budget was $5 million and the box office was $142.8 million.
• On October 9, 2006, Kristi Rey and her husband Daniel are killed by her demon-
possessed sister Katie, who then abducts Kristi's one-year-old son, Hunter. Text
states that Katie and Hunter's whereabouts remained unknown
• In November 2011, Alex Nelson lives in suburban Henderson, Nevada with her
father Doug, mother Holly, and little brother Wyatt. Alex and her boyfriend Ben
discover their new neighbor's son, Robbie, hiding in their family treehouse. The
next day, Robbie's mother falls ill and is taken to the hospital, leaving Robbie, who
begins mentioning an invisible friend named Toby, in the care of the family. Over
the next few days, many supernatural occurrences begin to take place and soon
3. Background information of the
• Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman are a directing team,
producers, best buds, and founders of the New York City
production company Supermarché. They directed two films
in 2016 - Nerve, a summer hit released by Lionsgate, starring
Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, and Viral, a low budget
horror movie starring Sofia Black-D'Elia and Analeigh Tipton.
• Henry Joost was in born 1981 and is an American actor and
filmmaker, best known for directing such films with Ariel
Schulman as Catfish, Paranormal Activity 3, Paranormal
• Ariel Schulman was born on October 1, 1981 and is an
American actor, film director, and producer. He is also best
known for directing such films with Ariel Schulman as Catfish,
Paranormal Activity 3, Paranormal Activity 4.
4. Film opening
• Paranormal Activity inspires the horror genre by (again) the use of dim lights being used
appropriately and the use of a video tape, which connotes that someone can be watching
back on their memories, connoting an eerie atmosphere.
• However, there is no use of blood (which is usually the main mise-en-scene for a horror
movie) but the horror genre is still shown by the jump scares and the diegetic sounds of
• The verisimilitude was continued successfully throughout the opening of Paranormal Activity
due to the use of continuity editing and the realistic use of someone watching back on a
video tape and baby sitting, which made it a successful film.
• With the editing, fast cuts were used to go into the next scene at a fast paste to increase the
tension. As these cuts are quick, it makes the reader question what it is that they have just
seen. This encourages an audience to go and watch the film whilst also creating a sense of
• Also, there was a blackout with no diegetic or non-diegetic sounds playing, which increases
the tension in the scene and fears the audience. This is a great aspect of the horror genre as
it is easier (whilst editing) to include jump scares or stereotypical eerie horror non-diegetic
• There is also a specific font used within the sub-titles which looks like a stereotypical horror
movie text due to it looking abnormal and suspicious, such as the text used in other films or
TV series when a murderer is sending notes and clues to the victims and detectives. This links
to Barthes theory by using the symbolic code, which in this case is the font of the text which
signifies that something unusual is about to happen.
• From 0.00 to 0.34 seconds in the opening scene,
the lighting is bright due to the characters being
outside in the sunlight, which signifies that
they're comfortable in their surroundings.
• Parallel editing is also used. Different things are
happening in house at the same time. This shows
that eventually all of these elements will meet so
foreshadows that something will happen.
• In this trailer, the one of the jump scare scenes
are shown towards the end which this helps to
attract an audience and entice people to watch
the film as as the most memorable scenes are
left until last.
• The mise-en-scene used in Paranormal Activity has a location of a family household in
America in a normal family home; the weather outside is sunny to connote summer and the
happiness of the family and the relaxing atmosphere.
• There is a use of dim lighting at 1.20 in the clip, where the audience are in the CCTV cameras
perspective and are looking down on the characters (High angle shot). This creates a tense
atmosphere due to there being no diegetic sounds, this is dramatic irony as the audience can
see that something will happen that the character is unaware of.
• The costumes worn by the characters are modern-casual, which connotes that his is based on
a recent time period.
• Furthermore most of the scenes show the child and the toys that he plays with, which
indicates that the focus of the movie is him. This is shown at 01.20 seconds in the clip when
the CCTV camera makes the audience watch the woman taking the child away whilst it’s
screaming in fear.
• The mother talks to her child to comfort him to sleep connotes the bond that they have and
her nurturing role.
• Also, the crying of the baby brings a tension in the atmosphere in the scene due to the fact
that the audience know that something wrong is going to happen to the baby.
• Furthermore, the sound of footsteps brings tension due to the character not being shown
whilst they’re walking, which worries both the characters and the audience of what's going
to happen next.
• Furthermore within this trailer, the cinematography used were camera shots such as medium
shots to view both the mother and child in the recording to show their bond (with a use of
the 180 degree angle). This also gives the use of a point of view shot due to the character
looking directly to the audience whilst talking, which makes the audience feel like they’re in
the scene with the characters. However, as it’s a tape recording it shows the audience that
someone else is watching it, which makes the audience question on what’s going on.
• Todorov’s narrative structure can be applied to the trailer as the opening scenes are calm and
balanced where the family are in a garden on a summers day, to connote the relaxing
atmosphere and happiness of the family. However, the disruption increases as the trailer
progresses and the audience does not see the new equilibrium as this will make them curious
to know what happens. It is also used when the mother is putting her baby to sleep near the
end of the trailer.
• Next, a high angle shot from the security camera's perspective signifies the power of the
audience as they're looking down on the characters and watching over them.
• However, this portrays the stereotypical use of the high angle shot by the audience feeling
interrogated rather than the characters that are being looked down on, due to the use of the
dim lighting and the eerie diegetic sounds of screaming and crying, which emphasizes the