Paranormal Activity projects Blair Witch-style chills (1)

A decade after filling America with pants-wetting fear, The Blair Witch Project still haunts Hollywood. Filmmakers emulate its faux-documentary, first-person narrative style, while studios seek the next no-budget horror flick that can become a $100 million word-of-mouth hit. Paramount Pictures bets that Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity will similarly set pulses and bladders racing.

Tapping into the power of “Web 2.0,” Paramount has used social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well as fan voting via Eventful.com to gin up interest in Paranormal. The movie's currently playing in Atlanta but expands to 2,000 screens nationwide Fri., Oct. 23 to compete with Saw VI’s torture porn. The Paranormal hype feels slightly more manufactured than Blair Witch’s sleeper-hit status (which wasn’t exactly free of marketing calculation, either). Fortunately, Paranormal’s lo-fi haunted house tale elicits enough delicious dread to justify the 21st-century ballyhoo.

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(Image courtesy Paramount Pictures)